He might be a new detector dog but “Flame” is already a hero in the eyes of his new handlers.
On his first day at work, Flame the black Labrador sniffed out plastic bags of suspected methamphetamine and utensils suspected for drug use.
The Detector dog is in Samoa as part of the Pacific Detector Dog Programme (P.D.D.P.) managed by the New Zealand Police Dog Section and funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
A statement from the Ministry of Police said Flame detected drugs allegedly smuggled into the country by a man from American Samoa.
“A 37-year-old male was arrested by Police on Thursday, 2nd November 2017, at the Fagali’i International Airport on a late flight from American Samoa,” the Police confirmed.
“The male is a returning citizen of Samoa."
“The suspect was detected at the airport by the police dog ‘Flame’ on his first day on the job."
“During the search, the police seized the following, plastic bags of suspected methamphetamine and utensils suspected for drug use.”
The statement adds the suspect is now being charged with possession of narcotics and police investigations are continuing with the possibility of additional charges.
The Ministry of Police would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Customs officials and members of the public for their continuous support.
Last week, Flame was handed over by New Zealand (N.Z.) High Commissioner to Samoa, David Nicholson, to the Commissioner of Police, Fuiava Egon Keil, during a ceremony at the Police headquarters.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by senior members of the Samoa Police Service (S.P.S.) and N.Z. government officials.
Mr. Nicholson spoke on behalf of the N.Z. government and he emphasized that his government would always assist Samoa in its border control efforts and providing the new dog for S.P.S. was an indication of that continuous support.
The N.Z. police sergeant who brought Flame into the country also expressed the same viewpoint by the N.Z. police and will continue to provide assistance.
The Commissioner of Police, on behalf of the Samoan Government, expresses his gratitude and appreciation for the continuous assistance provided by the N.Z. Government through the N.Z. police to S.P.S. during the years.
He also highlighted the importance of this gift to S.P.S. and the necessity for this program to continue.
Flame will replace the current dog “Boss” who is now retired from his official duties.