A federal drug-sniffing dog is being credited with the discovery of more than 35 kilograms of opium-saturated twigs and leaves which arrived at O'Hare from Laos on Tuesday night.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection K-9 officer, working with his partner Rambo, seized the opium at the O’Hare Foreign Mail Facility on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to a release from Customs.
While screening arriving international mail, Rambo alerted his handler to four separate shipments of opium, which had been soaked and dried onto wooden twigs and packed in dried leaves. The parcels, shipped from Laos and destined for Minneapolis, were labeled "Hmong Traditional Medicine Tea," the release said.
The officer opened the parcels to find a total of 273 plastic bags containing wood twigs and dried leaves. The twigs appeared to be saturated with an unknown substance that emitted a distinctive odor, which field tested positive for the presence of opiates, the release said.
The 273 bags, with a combined weight of just over 35 kilograms, marked the first opium seizures in 2010 by CBP officers at O’Hare, the release said.
But they were far from the first for Rambo. In 2009, the dog intercepted more than 195 kilograms of opiate material, the majority of which originated from Laos and were destined for Minnesota and Wisconsin, the release said. The investigations are ongoing.