The Mumbai unit of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) will soon have its own dedicated narcotics detection dogs to sniff out drug couriers.
Officers said the NCB is in the process of acquiring two highly-trained sniffer dogs.
The agency was earlier reliant on the sniffer units of the customs department used at the airport as well as sniffer dogs of the Mumbai Police.
“Within a month, we should get two highly-trained canines from the Border Security Force, along with three handlers. Currently, there is an issue of allotting a place where the dogs can be kept, which should be resolved in the next few weeks,” said an officer.
The NCB said it was facing issues with regards to using sniffer dogs of other agencies, as they are trained for a variety of activities – from bomb disposal to tracking the scent from crime scene.
“It reduces their effectiveness when it comes to specifically tracking down narcotics,” said the officer.
“To be effective, they need to be specifically trained in sniffing out narcotics, which will be the case with the two sniffer dogs we will be getting.”
Recently, narco-traffickers have started smuggling black cocaine – the smell of cocaine is diluted by mixing it with other chemicals so that it cannot be tracked at airports.
“Only a highly-trained sniffer dog will be able to detect such drugs,” an officer said.
The officer added that apart from airports, these dogs will also be used to trace drugs sent through courier services. The officer said that since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in the delivery of narcotics through couriers.
“While we have held meetings with private couriers… they may not follow all our recommendations. Hence, the use of sniffer dogs in such places will help us to cut down the use of couriers to supply drugs,” said the officer.
The officer also said that in a recent meeting of the NCB west region, overseen by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, one of the 10 points mentioned by the agency chief was the need to have a canine pool to make the agency more effective.