Breaking News Bar
updated: 3/19/2013 6:07 PM

Customs drug dog hits on opium packages near O'Hare

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
 

A drug dog checking shipments at the International Mail Facility near O'Hare International Airport hit on packages Monday afternoon containing more than 30 pounds of opium-soaked materials valued at almost $500,000.

The 8-year-old canine, Shadow, a Belgian Malinois, alerted U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to four different shipments from Laos destined for Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

While border protection officers often run across drug shipments, they're usually not of this magnitude, said Brian Bell, chief CBP officer.

"We see them regularly. We just don't see them in these quantities," Bell said. "And we don't have (Shadow) hit on four different shipments all in a row like this."

The first package, invoiced as Hmong dresses, actually contained 38 pieces of decorative cloth soaked in opium. The fabric weighed just over 15 pounds and is valued at more than $238,000.

Another package contained 10 pieces of fabric just under 5 pounds, valued at almost $77,000.

Two other packages labeled traditional medicines contained sticks and leaves soaked in opium and were valued at almost $98,000 and $77,000.

Opium is considered a traditional medicine within the Laotian community. The cloths, sticks and leaves would be boiled in water, leaving behind an opium paste that could then be smoked.

"It's possible that this was going to somebody who wanted to use it for its traditional reasons, but it's illegal in the United States, therefore, we're responsible for preventing it from coming in," Bell said.

The CBP's investigative unit will continue looking into the packages' final destinations.

In addition to drug canines, the CBP officers work alongside canines who sniff out illegal agricultural items that could hurt the economy, weapon canines who detect explosives and guns, and currency detection dogs that can sniff out large quantities of undeclared money.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here