Chicago - A U.S. Customs and Border Protection K-9 officer, working with his partner Allen, seized over eight pounds of opium hidden in wicker baskets at the Chicago O'Hare Foreign Mail Facility on February 7. While screening arriving international mail, K-9 Allen alerted to two parcels coming from Laos and after examination, opium was discovered woven between the layers of wicker.
The parcels, shipped from Laos and destined to the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota areas, were manifested with the descriptions "Handy Crafts" and "Sticky Rice Baskets." The CBP K-9 officer opened the parcels to find a number of unusually heavy and thick wicker baskets which x-rays showed to have anomalies and unusual densities. Upon cutting the baskets open, CBP officers found a black, tar substance wrapped in plastic which field tested positive for the presence of opiates. Inspection of the parcels resulted in the discovery of thirteen baskets containing opium. The total weight of the opium seized was 8.73 pounds. The shippers and the recipients are currently under investigation.
"Smugglers have months and years to devise and conceive ways to try to defeat our enforcement efforts. However our trained officers and in this case our four legged partners have the nose to ferret this out," said David J. Murphy, CBP Director of Field Operations in Chicago. "These K-9 teams are as useful today as ever and with their handlers around the nation work daily in all environments and locations to discover drugs and other prohibited items and keep them off the streets before they enter this country."
CBP officers and agriculture specialists are stationed at the foreign mail facilities located throughout the country. CBP is constantly screening arriving international mail and on the lookout for any type of contraband or prohibited items being shipped to the United States which could harm the community.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.