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.
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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