WASHINGTON - A Tanzanian canine detection team, trained to sniff out narcotics and wildlife products, has made its first drug bust.
At the request of the Tanzanians, the canines were trained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with funding support of U.S. Africa Command's Counter Narcotics and Transnational Threats Programs.
On Aug. 26, the Tanzania Canine Unit responded to a call from the Commander of the Police Anti-Drugs Unit requesting search support of a vehicle in the city of Dar Es Salaam. The handler and his dog, Yana, detected 115 grams of heroin hidden in the vehicle. Yana alerted to a package hidden near the left-rear tire and the package tested positive for heroin. A suspect has been placed into custody.
“This seizure of drugs is a critical step in combating the flow of illegal substances onto the streets of Tanzania and highlights the continued successful partnership between the governments of the United States and Tanzania,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “It also sends an important message to those who are involved in this illegal activity that it will be aggressively enforced.”
Throughout the month of August the team, consisting of four Belgian Malinois and their Tanzanian police handlers, conducted frequent searches at the airport and seaport, and responded to multiple requests for assistance from the Tanzania National Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit and the Police Anti-drugs Unit.
This program is a model of international cooperation among partners from the governmental, nongovernmental (NGO), and private sectors. The dogs and their handlers, specially selected members of the Tanzanian Police Force Canine Unit, completed ten weeks of training at the CBP Canine training facility in El Paso, Texas, before being delivered to Tanzania for this critical mission support capability in February. Through a comprehensive U.S. and Tanzanian government effort over the last year, the canine program has become operational and effective. NGOs such as Protected Area Management Solutions (PAMS) Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society have provided ongoing support to increase the scope and effectiveness of the team.
CBP continues to advance the U.S. Government’s mission to counter transnational crime by working with our international partners to reduce the global supply of and demand for illegal drugs. The efforts of these dogs, their handlers, and the governments in partnership, are a prime example of how international cooperation strengthens enforcement, enhances our global network, and reduces the availability of illegal substances.
For video and photos of the Tanzanian Canine Detection Team, click here; the content is from a training event.