Customs dog sniffs out €1.2 million in cash at Düsseldorf Airport

A sniffer dog named Luke has tracked down huge bundles of cash from passengers at Düsseldorf Airport in the last six months.

Customs dog sniffs out €1.2 million in cash at Düsseldorf Airport
Luke the sniffer dog patrolling Düsseldorf Airport. Photo: DPA

The three-year-old German shepherd is the only cash sniffer dog in Germany who is trained to work with humans at airport security, authorities say.

In the last six months since Luke took up his investigations role, he has sniffed out €1.2 million in cash from 21 passengers at the air hub in North-Rhine Westphalia. Luke is specially trained to raise the alarm when he believes someone is carrying big bundles of cash in their suitcase.

SEE ALSO: Man tries to fly from Düsseldorf Airport with €870,000 in cash

It's against the law to pass through Customs with €10,000 or more in cash without declaring it.

According to his trainers, Luke seeks out the cash because he can smell the combination of the printing inks and the paper of the banknotes.

“Every currency smells different,” says dog handler Sabine Mohren. Luke is trained to pick up the scent of euros, US dollars, British pounds and Turkish lira.

Customs dog Luke and dog handler Sabine Mohren at work at Düsseldorf Airport. Photo: DPA

According to EU laws in place since 2007, if passengers enter or leave the EU with €10,000 or more in cash, they must declare it and its origins to Customs.

These regulations are in place to help investigators detect any illegal activity involving high volumes of cash, such as drug trafficking or money laundering.

Cash stuffed between books

Last November, Düsseldorf Airport hit the headlines when a man tried to board a plane carrying almost €870,000 in cash.

On November 10th, police officers at the airport noticed a suitcase with 10 cash packages which were stuffed between books, reported the Customs Investigation Office based in Essen.

The suitcase was owned by a 26-year-old Frenchman, who was planning to travel from Düsseldorf via Russia to China.

Authorities initiated administrative offence proceedings against the man for failure to declare cash on departure. The source of the cash was also being investigated.


Sniffer dog/tracker dog – (der) Spürhund

Cash – (das) Bargeld

To sniff/sniff out- erschnüffelt

Printing ink – (die) Druckfarbe

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German word of the day: Bloß

This fun German word has a myriad of meanings, from describing going sock-less to making a strong statement.

German word of the day: Bloß

Why do I need to know bloß?

Like many colloquial words in German, bloß is a word you’ll hear everywhere on the streets.

But unlike other filler words like na and halt, it can also double up as an adjective and adverb. 

Here’s how it’s used

So what exactly does this fun four letter word mean? In its simplest form it’s a substitute for nur, or only, as in Ich war bloß eine Woche in Köln (I was only in Cologne for a week). 

It’s also commonly used in the phrase “not only…but also”, as in Ich war nicht bloß in Köln, sondern auch in Bonn (I was not only in Cologne, but also in Bonn).

READ ALSO: 12 signs you’ve mastered the German language

When used as an adjective, the little word also mean bare or naked, as in mit bloßen Füßen (barefoot) or mit meiner bloßen Hand (with my bare hand)

You’ll also commonly hear it being used to place emphasis on a statement or exclamation, especially when it’s a negative one. An angry parent might scold their misbehaving teenager with “Mach das bloß nie wieder!” (Don’t you ever do that again!) Or “Komm mir bloß nicht auf die unschuldige Tour!” (Don’t play innocent with me!).

It’s also used to express regret or resignation, similar to its cousin filler word ‘halt’. Lamenting their strong words, the parent might also sigh and say, “Ich hätte das bloß nicht gesagt’ (I shouldn’t have said that).

Someone who’s exasperated about any situation might also utter, “Was soll ich bloß machen?” (What exactly should I do now?”) While the sentence can be said without the “bloß”, putting it in there gives an extra punch, showing extra urgency. “Was soll ich machen?” is what you might ask about a house chore, but if you lock yourself out, and no one is around, that “bloß” definitely belongs in the middle.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Halt

Where does it originate?

While the word is commonly used today, it actually dates back to the Old High German “bloz” and is closely related to the Dutch word “bloot”. It has its origin in the Indo-Germanic root “bhel-“, which means “to shine” or “to glow”, so obviously the meaning has evolved a lot over the years.