Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lost dope at Narita

I am not referring to F.M-kun.

In May, Japanese customs drug-detector dog handlers and a trainer---I refuse to use the ridiculous term "sniffer dog"---made news because the trainer had placed a marijuana training aid in a person's luggage at Narita and apparently allowed the bag and the marijuana to get out of their view and control and it disappeared. Those three were punished yesterday for their mistake with a suspension and salary cuts.

I used to do that for a living before I decided that I needed to finish my university degree so that I could ultimately end up as an adverb salesman in Japan. (This is a form of natural selection.) I can imagine---as could every drug or explosives dog handler/trainer---how these guys felt when they realized that the dope was gone. We occasionally did similar things, but we never let it get out of our sight or control. Just a loss of a very few grams of a substance was enough to trigger a major investigation and nobody ever wanted that. One of the things I remember with great fondness is waking up in the middle of the night trying to remember if I had forgotten a training aid somewhere.

The article refers to the marijuana aid as "resin" which would be a bit strange as resin---at least as we used the term---is not "smoke-able" marijuana itself. The reporter or editor did the usual trick of casting some extra suspicion on the whole affair by noting that the customs official did not say where the trainer got the marijuana from. We got our drugs from the US Drug Enforcement Agency. I'd pretty much bet that the K-9 teams get their from a government agency too. It's not as if using drugs to train a drug dog is an option.

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