Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, has successfully completed a trial of the new Intelligent Fingerprinting Drug Screening System for suspected drug mules.
The screening system works by analysing fingerprint sweat samples, which will be collected using a single-use, tamper-evident drug screening cartridge.
The cartridge will be studied by the Intelligent Fingerprinting portable analysis unit to offer a positive or negative on-screen result for all drugs.
The system helps airport and border control to act on intelligence received on possible drug mule suspects within just ten minutes.
It provides rapid critical early intelligence to customs staff, helping them to avoid criminal drug smuggling and protect individuals who are often coerced into operating as drug mules.
The test simultaneously screens for four drug groups, such as opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, and cannabis, offering a simple, non-invasive and hygienic solution.
Intelligent Fingerprinting business development director Paul Yates said: “In trials conducted at Fiumicino Airport in Italy, we have seen how our fingerprint-based drug test can be used to aid intelligence-led investigations when travellers are suspected of trafficking drugs concealed within body cavities.
“Our test offers a quick and simple means of screening a passenger for drugs, which could indicate body-packing even when drugs have been concealed in swallowed sealed packets.
“Body packing is a real concern for airport and border control staff, not just because it is a widespread way of smuggling drugs, but also because of the potentially fatal risk of acute drug toxicity it poses to mules, should a drug packet split or seep internally.”
Fiumicino Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe by passenger traffic with nearly 43 million people served in 2018.
The airport features three passenger terminals, with two currently operational. It serves as the main hub for Italian airline Alitalia and Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling, which is owned by International Airlines Group.