Ministry of Revenue’s Customs Officer and dog handler, Hugo Tauauvea and K9 dog Inspector Flynn, were recipients of the Employee of the Month Award (E.O.M.) for the month of April.
This is part of the Ministry’s Recognition Framework, which was designed to recognise the Ministry’s staff members that have consistently provided excellent services.
The pair played a vital role in the Customs and K9 border protection operations as well as providing much needed assistance to the police taskforce during raids, a statement from the Ministry said.
The E.O.M. Award is given to employees who carry out their tasks exceptionally well on a regular basis. Somehow this recognition is of great significance and uniquely special given that the efforts of the K9 dog (Inspector Flynn) and his handler were recognised and applauded by the management.
According to the statement, the Ministry for Revenue, through its Customs office in collaboration with the Police force under the K9 Joint Venture have yet again detected and seized prohibited goods at the international border namely methamphetamine commonly known as “ICE” at the Faleolo International Airport on 23 April, 2018.
“Two male passengers who originated their journey from America and transited through Fiji are held accountable for the importation and illegal smuggling of the illicit drugs into Samoa,” it said.
“According to the Customs officers who were on duty, they detected one plastic zip-lock bag containing “ice” packed inside a black handbag belonging to the two male passengers.
“Furthermore, the plastic zip-lock bag containing ice was sophisticatedly concealed inside a taped clear plastic material stuffed inside a pair of socks located inside one of the pockets of a jacket that was placed under layers of clothes and a sewing machine.”
“The extent of the concealment method did not stop the Customs’ K9 dog Inspector Flynn from detecting the emitting odour of narcotics from inside the black handbag,” the statement highlighted
Flynn indicated a positive reaction to the bag, whilst the other K9 sniffer dog Flame, indicated positive reaction towards one of the male passengers. The pair was targeted by both Customs and the K9 Unit for thorough questioning and baggage inspection which led to the detection and another seizure of ICE at the border, the statement said.
“This is the fifth seizure of methamphetamine at our borders since 2012 in addition to several utensils and marijuana substances.” “It is evident from the aforementioned seizures that Customs and the Joint K9 Unit are constantly and will always be vigilant at our borders to detect and deter illegal activities.”
“In addition, K9 dog Inspector Flynn also played a vital role in assisting the Police force with their raid at the Savalalo flea market which saw various drug dealers being caught and apprehended by police a few weeks ago”.
“Inspector Flynn is continuing the legacy of fellow K9 dog; Inspector Quizzy who was put to rest earlier this year.”
“This also serves as a stern warning to everyone that the Customs office and the K9 Unit will continue to monitor our international borders to stop any illegal substances from being smuggled into the country. Inspector Flynn and his colleagues at Customs and the K9 Unit will be working around the clock as usual,” the statement said.