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Tuesday, May 27

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Airport bungle gives passenger $10,000 in drugs

May 27, 2008 - 9:32AM

An unsuspecting passenger who flew to Tokyo is carrying one million yen's worth of cannabis compliments of customs authorities after a bungled exercise involving sniffer dogs.

An officer at Narita International Airport yesterday stuffed 142 grams of the drug into the side pocket of a randomly-selected black suitcase coming off an overseas flight so that the animal could detect it.

"The dog couldn't find it and the officer also forgot which bag he put it in," a customs office spokeswoman said.

"If by some chance passengers find it in their suitcase, we're asking them to return it."

The 38-year-old officer was quoted by the spokeswoman as saying: "I knew that using passengers' bags (for sniffer dog training) is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog's ability."

He was reprimanded by the head of customs at Narita airport.

"This case was extremely regrettable. I would like to deeply apologise," said the airport's customs chief Manpei Tanaka.

The cannabis, which has a street value of one million yen ($A10,100), was in a metal box wrapped with newspapers.

Japan strictly prohibits both hard and soft drugs, with people imprisoned for possession of even small amounts of cannabis.


What really floors me is the appeal by the customs officials: "If you find it, please send it back. Or at least don't bogart it."

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