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Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Where’s the Weed?

Posted by shadmia on May 27, 2008

Japanese Customs officials at Tokyo-Narita airport made the embarrassing admission that they lost 142g (5 ounces) of the marijuana derivative hashish. In an unauthorized test involving drug-sniffing dogs, the hash was stored in a metal container stuffed into the pocket of a soft, black suitcase belonging to one of 283 passengers traveling on Cathay Pacific Flight 520 from Hong Kong to Narita, which arrived at 3:31 p.m. on Sunday. The 142g of hash had a reported street value of $10,000 (about 1 million yen)

The customs agent who hid the hash could not remember which suitcase he had put it in, and the drug-sniffing dogs were unable to locate the container. The agent had conducted the test on a passenger’s bag against regulations. Normally a training suitcase is used. Customs regulations require customs officials to prepare luggage for training exercises like the one carried out on Sunday and specifically ban travelers’ baggage from being used. Customs officials said four customs officials had two sniffer dogs working a luggage conveyor at Narita, but neither was able to find the drugs. Manpei Tanaka, head of Customs’ Narita branch, apologized for the incident.

“It’s extremely regrettable that we have invited this sort of situation on ourselves. We will investigate the facts behind the case, provide thorough training and deal strictly with those involved,” Tanaka said.

The 38-year-old officer responsible for the incident was quoted by the spokeswoman as saying:

“I knew that using passengers’ bags is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog’s ability,” the officer was quoted as saying. “The dogs have always been able to find it before… I became overconfident that it would work,” he said.

Police began to contact passengers who were on the flight and issued an appeal to the public:

“If by some chance passengers find it in their suitcase, we’re asking them to return it.”

Fortunately, a shocked passenger found the drugs. Japan Today reports that the passenger discovered a small metal box containing the hashish tucked in a side compartment of his suitcase when he got to his hotel. “The man called police who returned the cannabis to Narita airport“, Japan Today said.

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