K-9 Unit Discovers Shawls Containing Opium

A box of shawls shipped from Laos was found to be saturated with opium after a K-9 unit sniffed them out

By Dominic Trombino
|  Monday, Jun 13, 2011  |  Updated 5:49 PM CDT
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Opium Shawls

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A box labeled "Traditional Dresses" that came through the Chicago U.S. Customs and Border Protection International Mail Facility turned out to be a cleverly disguised opium shipment.

A drug-sniffing dog discoverd 65 plastic-wrapped, shawls or dresses of varying colors, on their way to Minneapolis during inspection.

Each four-foot by two-foot cloth was saturated with drugs, officials said.

The box deceived X-ray machines, but Chicago Border Patrol's K-9 Martin was not fooled. The 6-year-old Belgian Malinois sniffed out a box and raised alarm.

If it weren't for Martin, the shawls would have continued on to Minneapolis undetected.

"Our CBP K-9 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. "Our CBP canines have always been and will continue to be one of our best weapons in the war against drugs.”

The idea to coat textiles with opium is nothing new.

"Let's say this isn't the first time we've seen it," said spokeswoman Charise Miles.

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