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Drug-sniffing dog, Shadow, finds $500,000 worth of opium at O’Hare

Updated: March 20, 2013 1:42AM

A federal drug-sniffing dog named Shadow earned his keep and then some on Monday at O’Hare Airport, when he helped discover more than 30 pounds of opium worth nearly $500,000, officials said.

A member of the Customs and Border Protection team at O’Hare’s international mail facility, “Shadow is an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois whose nose definitely knows how to ferret out hidden drugs in imported cargo and mail,” William Ferrara, CBP’s acting director of field operations, said in a statement.

At 2:30 p.m. Monday, Shadow alerted agents to a parcel from Laos heading to Wisconsin, the invoice for which read “Hmong Dresses,” a release from CBP said. But 38 pieces of decorative cloth were found to be saturated in opium, more than 15 pounds in all with a value estimated at $238,682.

Not ready to rest on his laurels, Shadow, whom Ferrara calls “one of the top dogs at the CBP O’Hare Mail Facility,” was back at it again a few hours later.

About 5:30 p.m., he alerted to another parcel from Laos, this one bound for Minnesota, with its contents undeclared, the release said. Inside were 10 pieces of cloth wrapped in plastic, which also tested positive for opium. With a combined weight of 4.84 pounds, they were valued at $76,707.

And just 10 minutes later at 5:40 p.m., Shadow pointed out a third parcel from Laos, manifested to contain “Traditional Medicines” and bound for Wisconsin, the release said. While some might call it traditional medicine, agents actually found 38 small plastic bags of woodchips and leaves, soaked in about 6.16 pounds of opium valued at $97,628.

To complete a very productive day at the office, Shadow waited just 10 more minutes to alert to another package of “Traditional Medicines” from Laos en route to Minnesota, the release said. It contained 53 bags of opium-saturated twigs and wood shavings, containing 4.84 pounds of the drug valued at $76,707.

For the day, Shadow helped curtail about $489,724 worth of opium from reaching its intended destinations. Ferrara said the dog “works tirelessly keeping our country and communities safe from harmful drugs.”

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