Role of advanced detection technology in the fight against drug smuggling


Recent media reports indicate Sri Lanka is being used as a major transit route by drug syndicates to smuggle narcotics through the country.

According to these reports Sri Lanka's Customs Narcotics Controls Division continue to seize sizable quantities of drugs and despite detections by officials the country continues to be a major transit point for smugglers.

Media reports also cite unofficial sources confirming that over 900kgs of heroin alone are brought into the country annually. Moreover, while narcotics detection has been focused on individuals carrying narcotics through airports, vigilance has been increased at seaports with narcotics arriving in bulk via containers and hidden among various other trading goods.

While passengers who travel through airports, those considered suspicious are subject to rigid checks, but it is impossible to individually examine over 24,000 containers which arrive at the Colombo port on a monthly basis owing to the lack of staff and expertise.

This weakness has created an impetus for drug syndicates in using the country as a narcotics hub. Therefore it is imperative that advanced and robust technology be introduced to prevent the entry of drugs into the country and combat this growing menace.

To helplaw enforcement officials fight the entry of contraband, among the superior technology available is the new portable handheld identifier that provides a quick and accurate field analysis of a wide range of illicit drugs and controlled substances.

Smiths Detection, the global leader in offering advanced solutions in detecting explosives, chemical and biological agents, radiological and nuclear threats, narcotics, weapons and contraband has introduced 'Target-ID' the first Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy system, which is fast, accurate and cost effective in illicit drug identification.

This lightweight, portable and handheld unit rapidly and accurately identifies narcotics, synthetic designer drugs, cutting agents, and common chemicals. Providing forensic laboratory quality results in seconds, the Target-ID also allows users to define their own library matches to help identify trafficking rings and localized varieties of narcotics while provides an intuitive user interface with minimal training required for its application.

With a growing need to allocate additional funds towards combating narcotics smuggling in Sri Lanka, the Smiths Detection's 'Sabre 5000' is a cost effective handheld trace detector for explosives, chemical agents, toxic industrial chemicals and narcotics. It is an ideal instrument for law enforcement agencies that require portability and flexibility to perform their duties.

The 2-hour battery offers optimized detection in home-made explosive devices. Moreover, the user can select the best analysis method for the suspected threat to yield more accurate analysis results,with switching between sampling modes taking seconds.

Safeguarding the nation's aviation security poses significant challenges. In order to detect possible threats and substances, sophisticated technologies are vital. Smiths Detection's portable trace explosives and narcotics detector known as IONSCAN 600 is designed to provide airports and users, a simple and Small, lightweight, portable and cost-effective method of screening for a wide range of explosives and drugs.

It is non-radioactive, (Ion Mobility Spectrometry or IMS source) eliminates the need for any kind of special handling, disposal or special licensing. The easy to use interface requires minimal training offering minimal maintenance and unmatched performance throughout extreme temperatures. The unit's hot-swappable battery provides for continued sampling and analysis with cost-effective, single-use swabs providing a cost effective option.

For law enforcement officials the challenge of detecting narcotics being carried into public and high security zones has been made easier with Smith Detection's Ionscan Sentinel II. This device detects explosives and narcotics through head-to-toe screening, is fully automated through a touch screen color display. The machine detects Explosives such as include RDX, PETN, TNT, Semtex, NG while drugs detected include Cocaine, Heroin, PCP, THC, Methamphetamine, Ecstasy and other substance.

Smith Detection's advanced technology is already deployed globally and has proven effective in drug detection. While smugglers are engaged in using sophisticated and ingenious concealment methods Sri Lankan officials too should take note use these modern and advanced tools to prevent further growth of drug syndicates proliferating in the island.

Smiths Detection offers advanced security solutions in civil and military markets worldwide, developing and manufacturing government-regulated technology products that help detect and identify explosives, chemical and biological agents, radiological and nuclear threats, weapons, narcotics and contraband. It is part of Smiths Group, a global leader in applying integrated, advanced technologies to markets in threat and contraband detection, energy, medical devices, communications and engineered components. Smiths Group employs around 23,000 people in more than 50 countries.

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