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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Jamaican drug mules face tighter security
Kingston, Jamaica
Jamaican drug mules are said to be "flooding" the UK
Drugs smugglers making their way from Jamaica to Britain are to face tighter security under a new agreement, the BBC has learned.

The Home Office minister responsible for drugs and serious crime, Bob Ainsworth, says equipment to detect cocaine should be in place by the summer.

He also confirmed that plans were being considered to post Jamaican police officers at British airports to assist the operation.

The anti-smuggling measures have been prompted by concerns that increasing amounts of cocaine are coming to the UK from Jamaica.

Earlier this year, reports suggested that one in 10 passengers flying to London from the Jamaican capital, Kingston, was carrying drugs.

The proliferation of the trade has contributed to a series of violent crimes and shootings in Britain, as gangs fight over the spoils.

Fake passports

Mr Ainsworth, who has just returned from a two-day visit to Jamaica, said the details for the extra security and funding were being finalised.

According to the Home Office, agreement has now been reached with the authorities on the island to equip airports there with hand-held electronic scanners to detect cocaine once it has been swallowed.

Machines will also be installed to catch people travelling on fake passports.

The Home Office is also considering a request from the Jamaicans to send a team of their detectives to British airports.

It is thought they would provide local information and intelligence on couriers carrying the proceeds of drug sales back to the Caribbean.

However, no decision has been taken on whether to introduce visas for those travelling from Jamaica - a move the government there is strongly resisting.

See also:

13 Dec 01 | England
02 Jan 02 | Country profiles
03 Jan 02 | Americas
12 Mar 02 | Americas
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