NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As thousands of people travel in and out of the Nashville International Airport, not all passengers are there for just a trip. News 2 went digging into the numbers, looking at arrests happening within BNA, and the numbers reveal drug dogs have been staying busy.
“The volume of narcotics trafficking is significantly higher through an airport than it would be on the streets,” said Ali Hemyari, CEO of Nashville K-9.
Drug and narcotic violations account for more than 30 arrests so far this year. Major tools to catch these illegal substances are K-9s.
“As people are passing by, where the conveyor belt is spinning, allows the dog to capture these odors in the air and go directly to it sometimes, or at least indicate the presence of the odor in a specific area,” explained Hemyari.
Hemyari has spent years training dogs to sniff out drugs. Airports are a constant hot spot for drug trafficking.
“They have become pretty crafty. A lot of people believe because they have been dipped in gasoline or oil, that dogs can’t smell it which is not factually true. A big presence comes through the U.S. Mail, which comes through the Nashville Airport, and so their working police dogs to intercept all of those methodologies,” Hemyari said.
Within the last month, K-9 Officer Havoc has captured 30 pounds of meth hidden in a suitcase. This week, the same K-9 found a suitcase filled with nearly 100 pounds of marijuana.
“They have about four million times more olfactory cells than we do in their nose, and while maybe we can smell a hamburger, they can smell every layer, the bread, the lettuce, the tomato,” explained Hemyari.
And it’s not just drugs. Simple assault, disorderly conduct and driving under the influence were among the top arrests at BNA.
News 2 contacted airport officials about the increasing number of arrests. They sent the following statement:
“Safety and security are our top priorities at Nashville International Airport (BNA). Our officers in the Department of Public Safety are here 24 hours a day, throughout the year to ensure our passengers and business partners are welcomed to a safe and secure airport. It is unfortunate that some passengers during the time of January through September 2022 made the decision to engage in improper behavior, where a total of 14.5 million came through the doors of BNA. We are proud of our officers and K-9 officers in their ongoing efforts to protect BNA.”Stacy Nickens, BNA Official