The police drug enforcement department and the Maldives correctional services conducted a joint operation in Maafushi jail yesterday using sniffer dogs to locate drugs.
Tuesday’s 14-hour operation was the first time dogs were used to search a Maldivian prison.
Superintendent Ahmed Shifan, head of the drug enforcement department, told the press today that the dogs located 25 rubber packets containing hash oil and five packets containing heroin.
A large number of mobile phones, SIM cards and chargers was also confiscated from the cells, Shifan said.
He added that police are working with the correctional service to prevent the entry of drugs and phones to the high security prison. Prison guards have previously been caught smuggling drugs for inmates.
The correctional services had also confiscated 200 packets of illicit narcotics during a search operation in November last year.
Home minister Umar Naseer brought in 16 puppies from the Netherlands in March to tackle the Maldives’ entrenched drug abuse and trafficking problem.
The dog squad or ‘K9 unit’ reportedly cost the government US$40,000. Custom-made kennels have been established at the airport, and the government has brought in British and Dutch trainers to train police officers on working with the dogs.