Customs officers had habit of planting drugs

Kyodo

Three customs officers have planted cannabis resin in the luggage of travelers arriving at Narita International Airport more than 160 times since last September to train drug sniffer dogs, Tokyo Customs said Monday.

Disciplinary actions have been taken against the three officers and nine senior customs officials, because the actions violate Tokyo Customs’ in-house rules.

The three include a 38-year-old customs officer who planted cannabis resin in the luggage of a traveler from Hong Kong earlier this year.

The officer failed to retrieve the resin before the traveler got his luggage and left the airport May 25. The following day, Tokyo Customs recovered the 120 grams of resin at a Tokyo hotel where the traveler was staying.

The officer, who has been found to have planted drugs in travelers’ bags about 90 times, has been suspended from duty for three months.

A 10 percent salary cut for three months has been imposed on two other customs officers who also planted cannabis resin in travelers’ luggage, one on more than 10 occasions and the other around 60 times.

The head of Tokyo Customs was among the nine senior officials given pay cuts and warnings. Officers are now banned from planting drugs in travelers’ luggage without notice.