€17m in contraband products seized by dog tracking units in 2019

The biggest product category was cigars and cigarettes valued at €3.6m.
€17m in contraband products seized by dog tracking units in 2019
Revenue dog Obi, one of the dogs working in Revenue's 19 dog tracking units at Ireland's ports, airports and incoming mail centres. 

More than €17m in contraband products was seized by dog tracking units working with the Revenue Commissioners in 2019, according to new figures.

By far the largest such product category in quantity was cigarettes and cigars, with 6.5m kgs seized over the 12-month period at a value of €3.6m.

Some 471 kgs of loose tobacco was also seized, with a value of €256,000.

The most valuable seizures in monetary terms are in narcotics, with €6.5m worth of cannabis - some 330kgs- and €6.3m in amphetamines and ecstasy tablets unearthed by the sniffer dogs.

A further €79,723 worth of cocaine and heroin was also located, at a weight of just 1.1kgs.

Cash totalling roughly €370,000 in different denominations was also recovered.

The total figures do not include illicit food seizures though, as those figures are reported by the Department of Agriculture.

Revenue’s dog units are mobile in nature, operating across the country’s ports, airports, and incoming mail centres.

At present, 19 such dog tracking units - each comprising a dog, its handler and a team of support staff - operate out of Revenue, according to finance minister Paschal Donohoe. 

Currently, seven posts within the dog tracking unit remain vacant, according to Revenue, though it added that those posts - which are empty due to “staff movements” - are “in the process of being filled”.

Mr Donohoe said the number of dog detector units is considered adequate for Revenue’s purposes, although it remains “under review, having regard to ongoing risk assessment and evolving operational needs”.

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