Chicago - At the Chicago U.S. Customs and Border Protection International Mail Facility, a seemingly innocent imported shipment of pretty dresses may deceive the untrained eye and an X-ray showing no hidden or secret compartments may give the impression that all is well. However, CBP K-9 Martin's nose, knows otherwise.
On June 9, while working with his CBP handler, Martin a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois alerted to a large box, invoiced as "Traditional Dresses," coming from Laos. This parcel contained 65 plastic-wrapped brightly colored shawls destined for Minneapolis weighing 11.9 kilograms. Even though the paperwork was in order and CBP X-ray images of the box and contents showed no anomalies, Martin's nose remained very interested. Upon closer examination using drug field testing procedures, CBP officers found a positive reaction. All 65 decorative 4-foot by two-foot cloth pieces were saturated with the illegal narcotic opium.
"Our CBP canine narcotics detector teams work very well in finding drugs even where the eye cannot see," said David Murphy, CBP director of Field Operations in Chicago. "They have highly trained noses that can hone in on any shipment and identify the presence of illegal narcotics. Sometimes drug smugglers will try to hide or mask illegal drug odors by packing coffee or onions within a shipment but those efforts are unsuccessful. Our CBP canines have always been and will continue to be one of our best weapons in the war against drugs."
Throughout the year, CBP canine enforcement teams working at international mail facilities examine millions of international mail shipments coming into the United States from all parts of the world. In Chicago, the CBP canine crew includes Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Labradors and Beagles. These dogs are highly trained in different programs to detect large amounts of currency, illegal drugs or agriculture items such as fruits, meats and plants. There are more than 1,300 CBP canine teams located throughout the country constantly on the job keeping our neighborhoods and nation safe.
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.