1. GA-English

Drugs hidden in sewing machines : Customs dog sniffs out 30 kilograms of opium in Bonn

Drugs hidden in sewing machines : Customs dog sniffs out 30 kilograms of opium in Bonn

Customs investigators in Bonn have uncovered an internationally operating drug ring in Bonn. While they were checking goods from Iraq, a dog tracked down drugs hidden in the bases of 12 sewing machines.

In early July, Essen customs investigators succeeded in striking a blow against international opium smuggling in Bonn. As has only just become known, customs officers confiscated almost 30 kilograms of raw opium during the import control of a load of consolidated cargo from Iraq. The inspection took place on July 2 at the Bonn customs office.

Prior to that, customs had been informed during the exchange of police information that the truck contained hidden narcotics. "The customs dog Finch was used on site", Heike Sennewald of the Essen customs investigation office told the GA.

The officers let the narcotics detection dog check the cargo and it successfully sniffed out drugs in a partial load consisting of sewing machines. "In the bottom of a sewing machine we found about 2.7 kilograms of raw opium," said Sennewald. The drug was also hidden in eleven other sewing machines – about 30 kilograms in total.

The customs officers were assisted in the unloading work by the Bonn branch of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), and the investigations were also carried out on their premises. "The Essen Customs Investigation Office requested our support within the framework of administrative assistance," reports Sebastian Vogler from the THW regional association. The basis for the support was the THW law, which also provides for the support of agencies responsible for danger prevention. Twelve THW forces supported the customs measures with heavy equipment. The THW is regularly activated for such operations, Vogler continues.

Just four days after the drugs were found, the customs office was able to arrest the presumed recipient, a 45-year-old German-Iranian, when he attempted to pick up the sewing machines in Cologne. During the subsequent search of his apartment, the officers seized nine grams of opium and a total of 9,600 euros. The customs authorities estimate the value of the opium at 400,000 euros. The accused is in custody and the customs investigation office is continuing the further investigations on behalf of the Bonn public prosecutor's office.

(Original text, GA; translation, John Chandler)