Police dogs sniff out drugs as operation hits airports and postal outlets

Ben LeahyNorth West Telegraph
East Pilbara Detectives officer in charge Tony Langer and a colleague search baggage during this week's operation at Port Hedland and Karratha airports.
Camera IconEast Pilbara Detectives officer in charge Tony Langer and a colleague search baggage during this week's operation at Port Hedland and Karratha airports. Credit: Ben Leahy

Passengers arriving at Pilbara airports are coming face-to-nose with sniffer dogs this week as law enforcement agencies searched airlines and postal outlets for incoming drugs.

The joint Pilbara detectives and Australian Border Force operation has been running from Tuesday through to today at Port Hedland and Karratha’s airports and postal outlets.

Perth passengers and those arriving directly from Brisbane and Melbourne were among those searched.

East Pilbara Detectives officer in charge Tony Langer said enforcement agencies hoped to disrupt drug couriers.

“We have some intelligence which suggests people are attempting to bring a fair bit of drugs into the district via the mail service and also on the commercial airlines,” he said.

“So this is a deterrent to them so they know that any time they are going to get off a plane at Port Hedland or Karratha there is a good chance they will get searched by either us or Border Force.”

“Even if they try and send something through the post there is a good chance we will locate what they are sending and trace it back to them.”

The Pilbara operation comes as State Treasurer Mike Nahan unveiled a $14.9 million two-year funding boost to the Mental Health Commission for meth-targeted programs in yesterday’s budget and $5.5 million for extra roadside drug testing.

It also follows on from the December 2014 and January 2015 Operation Redwater in which police searched workers flying into Pilbara mine sites and pulled over heavy-haulage trucks transiting local roads.

OIC Langer said this week’s operation did not specifically target fly-in, fly-out workers.

“This is targeting anyone that comes in through the airports, it is not just fly-in, fly-out workers,” he said.

For more, pick up next week’sNorth West Telegraph .

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