Smuggling drugs and other illicit goods is about to get rougher for Fijian criminal groups, with New Zealand-trained detector dog teams bound for the Pacific Island nation.
The six teams completed their training course at Trentham yesterday, and will be deployed as part of a three-year project to improve Fiji's border security.
Customs comptroller Carolyn Tremain says the detector dogs will help counter organised criminal groups who use Fiji as a hub for moving illegal goods to New Zealand and Australia.
"The teams graduating are world class and will play an important role in mitigating the risk of organised crime networks operating in the Pacific region," she said.
"This will be the first time Fiji Customs and Revenue Authority has had a dedicated detector dog capability. Until now police detector dogs have been used at the border."
The detector dogs were sourced from within New Zealand as well as Australia as part of a larger programme to counteract the flow of illegal drugs from Fiji.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the quality of the dog and handler training at the police's Trentham facility is renowned through the Pacific.
"This project has a focus on long term capability and we look forward to building the relationship to ensure that New Zealand plays its part in combating cross-border organised crime in the region and the trade in illicit drugs," he said.
The detector dogs are expected to be operational in Fiji by the end of 2015.