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A trafficker's best friend: Aging sniffer dogs blamed for cocaine on Guyana-US flights

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Sniffer dogs are being blamed for airport security lapses in Guyana, where police said Monday that their canines are too old or not skilled enough to detect drugs stuffed inside suitcases.

Police in the South American country are preparing to buy and train new animals to replace the force's three sniffer dogs — two at the main international airport and one at police headquarters, police Chief Henry Greene said.

"The record shows they are not making many cases. The new dog we have has made only one case," Greene said.

The government began a security review last week after U.S. officials complained about a large number of cocaine-filled suitcases from Guyana intercepted in American cities. One suitcase seized last month at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport contained 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of cocaine.

The dogs' handler, Maurice Smith, said the animals — two Labradors and a German shepherd — would be more effective if officials provided cocaine for them to smell as part of their training. He said the government has refused to do so, apparently out of fear the drugs will be stolen.

U.S. authorities say the former British colony bordering Venezuela is a transit point for cocaine bound for Europe, West Africa and North America.