Contraband Smugglers Keeping Up With New Detection Techniques


Contraband smuggling techniques are keeping pace with new surveillance equipment, airport scanning technology, and cargo X-rays, reports the Associated Press. “It’s a question of building a better mousetrap,” said Deirdre Fedkenheuer of the New Jersey Corrections Department. “Somebody’s going to always try and think of a new way.” It’s been more than a decade since sending food to prisoners was prohibited. Today, drugs, weapons and cell phones still find their way behind bars. New Jersey’s prison system has added dogs trained not only to sniff drugs, but to detect the odor of cell phones, which are banned.

Smugglers try all sorts of techniques to bring contraband into the country by air, sea, and land. In the past two months, inventory confiscated at New York-area airports and ports included opium concealed in porcelain cat figurines, cocaine in bags of freeze-dried coffee, drugs in railings of a suitcase, sewn into pants, molded into sneakers, concealed in clothing hangers or packed into the console of a Nintendo Wii video game system. Drugs have been hidden in electrical cords, in a computer mouse, a child’s Mr. Potato Head doll, baby diapers, drug-soaked clothing, toothpaste, cosmetics, fruit that is expertly sliced, gutted, filled with drugs and resealed to look untouched, or in live animals, and of course, in people.

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