CUSTOMS officers at Dublin airport are this weekend deploying a special weapon against organised crime and money launderers during what will be one of the busiest Easter periods for travellers.
The customs unit's newest member of staff , , a black labrador named Storm, who is specially trained to sniff out large amounts of cash , , will be assigned to check luggage and passengers for money which may have been acquired illegitimately.
Storm joined the customs unit last year and is trained to detect smells of ink from banknotes, a skill which can help to determine whether passengers are carrying large sums of cash through the airport to another jurisdiction or into the state. Customs officers are entitled to seize suspect amounts of cash and in such cases an investigation can be launched to determine if the cash is the proceeds of drug related or other organised crime activity or fraud.
The airport is expecting a record 300,000 passengers to fly in and out of the country over the Easter weekend, a rise of 20% on last year. While the vast majority of travellers arrive on short holidays, the added transit numbers mean that there is likely to be a proportionately greater number of attempts by criminals to bring illicit cargo through the airport. Customs officers expect Storm to have a busy weekend working alongside canine compatriots who are trained to detect illegal drug shipments.