National

New scanners to counter drug trafficking at airports

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) today launched two new drug-detecting scanner units worth $287,000, given as aid by the Australian Immigration Department. Launching the new drug-detecting scanners this afternoon, Acting Chief Executive Officer for Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) Mr Visvanath Das said that they were grateful to their Australian counterpart who had […]

Peni Shute

March 24, 2016 4:47 pm

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) today launched two new drug-detecting scanner units worth $287,000, given as aid by the Australian Immigration Department.

Mr Visvanath Das, Chief Executive Officer, Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority(FRCA). (Peni Shute/Newswire)
Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Visvanath Das. (Peni Shute/Newswire)

Launching the new drug-detecting scanners this afternoon, Acting Chief Executive Officer for Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) Mr Visvanath Das said that they were grateful to their Australian counterpart who had generously donated two scanners to assist with monitoring activities.

Given Fiji’s geographical location and a transit point and increase in drug trafficking in the region and globally it is critical for us to thoroughly monitor and map these people once they enter Fiji.

Because of the sophistication involved, it is prudent to utilize technology to be highly efficient and proative in identifying this illegal trafficking of chemicals and drug substances.

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One of the drug detectors during a demonstration this afternoon. (Peni Shute/Newswire)

Mr Das said the introduction of the drug-detecting scanners would be used in the forefront of apprehending those who would be trafficking drugs into the country.

These scanners are highly chemically, selective and reliable and have proven very successful with Australian Customs, NZ Customs and PNG Customs. So this offering is state of the art device in the market for identification of unknown substances and chemicals.

Mr Das said the detectors could identify explosives, toxic industrial chemical, warfare agents, narcotics, white precursor powders and is capable of identifying chemical signatures related to narcotics trafficking, distribution and manufacturing.

This technology can test chemicals right on spot and identify if it is a drug.

There have been 12 cases of drug detection worth about $45m over last two year even without the gadget. Given the current complex concealment methods such as body strapping, body insertions and practically anything you can think, these scanners are surely enhancing our capability for these detections as well.

Ten customs officers from various ports of entries have been trained over the last two days by an Australian Expert.

Mr Das said the drug-detecting scanners would be used tomorrow in both the Nadi and Nausori International airports.

I would send a simple message to the would-be traffickers out there that do not underestimate the Fiji Customs capabilities to detect drug trafficking.

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