Funny Money Goes to the Dogs
Earlier this year, the U.S. agency, in conjunction with the Colombian National Police, uncovered more than $20 million in counterfeit $100, $50 and $20 U.S. notes from a farm near Cali. This is the largest seizure associated with an active counterfeiting plant in Colombian history.
The country’s officials declared that this counterfeiting plant was in the process of filling an order for $50 million in bogus notes, and that these phony bills were intended for distribution in Spain, France, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and the United States.
Eight persons linked to this counterfeiting operation, including the financier, printer and distributors, were arrested.
Counterfeit CapitalAs countries throughout South and Central America “dollarize,” that is, adopt the U.S. dollar as their currency, Colombia has become one of the leading countries in the production of fake U.S. currency. In fact, since 1998, the Secret Service and Colombian authorities have seized more than $150 million in counterfeit currency and have dismantled operations that could have produced billions of dollars in funny money.
The fight is a tough one, and law enforcement continues to seek out ways to more effectively fight the counterfeit battle.
The Secret Service now has a new weapon in their never-ending fight. It’s a counterfeit money-detecting canine.
Yes, it’s true.
According to agency sources, these latest doggy additions to the arsenal of tools used in combating international counterfeiting graduated from a special training program.
With funding from the Secret Service, Colombian authorities established a counterfeit detection canine program where teams, comprised of a dog and its handler, undergo a 12-week training program. The first graduates of this innovative training program are now being used to discover counterfeits.
Bogus Bill Sniffing DogsThese remarkable canine teams will deploy throughout Columbia where they will assist authorities. The special agent in charge states that just as working dogs have been trained to detect a variety of items (explosives, agricultural products, missing persons), there has been success in teaching dogs to detect many of the commonly produced counterfeit U.S. notes.
In fact, dog-and-handler teams provided by the Secret Service have already proven themselves in helping to locate clandestine printing operations throughout Colombia.
Prior to the start of the official program, “Mike,” the first canine trained in the detection of bogus bills, was put into the field. Mike and his Secret Service handler have had great success. Since that time, the Secret Service has expanded its canine programs and used these “doggy dishonest dollar detectives” in the U.S. and other locations throughout the world.
For more details, log on to www.secretservice.gov.
My final thoughts: Congratulations to the U.S. Secret Service in implementing this fresh and unique program to use canines in the detection of counterfeit currency. A trustworthy currency is a vital component in protecting the integrity of our country’s financial infrastructure.
Organized criminals based in Eastern Europe are now fast jumping onto the lucrative funny money bandwagon. Law enforcement must keep a powerful lid on these worldwide counterfeiting thugs as bogus bills not only will be used by those in the illegal drug trade and by other common criminals, but also by terrorists.