ROME (AP) – A drug-sniffing dog led frontier police on Friday at a Milan airport to some 13 kilogrammes of cocaine stuffed into the leather upholstery of a motorised wheelchair, whose user immediately stood up and was arrested, authorities said.
The specialised canine unit was being deployed at Malpensa airport to check arriving passengers and their luggage from a flight from the Dominican Republic, since previously drug couriers had used that route, the Financial Guard police said in a statement.
When a dog drew officers’ attention to the traveller, police first checked his luggage, which yielded nothing, then slashed the wheelchair’s upholstery, discovering the cocaine.
Police said that when the cocaine was found, the chair user – a Spaniard who had requested airport personnel to help guide the wheelchair – got up, walked without assistance and was taken into custody.
The passenger was brought to a local jail, where judicial authorities upheld his detention pending investigation of the case, the statement said.
Police said the 11 packets of cocaine, weighing a total of 13.35 kilogrammes could have yielded some 27,000 individual doses of the drug and had a street sale value of some EUR1.4 million.