Officials use dogs to sniff out drugs in e-mail packages
New weapon in fight against opioid epidemic; Matt Finn reports from Chicago.
CHICAGO – a Number of the front lines in the prevention of fatal opioid and fentanyl in American communities happens to be at the United States Postal Service. The amount of packages that are filled with deadly drugs and intercepted by federal agents is something that must be seen to be believed.
All international packages will arrive in the United States are screened by the U. S. Customs and Border Protection agents. About 1.7 million packages per day are x-rayed, scanned and sniffed by dog teams.
FoxNews.com have an inside look at the process at the mammoth USPS international dispatch facility at Chicago’s O’hare International Airport. A well-trained K9 runs up and down conveyor belts, quickly sniffing packets of all shapes and sizes, such as the items first made their way into the building. The dog handler holds the pup on a tight line, and also keeps its eye on the packages. Within a few minutes, the K9 detected three packages with drugs.
The senders to get crafty. They try to hide the fact prescription pills as a health supplement, or stuff huge packages of powder into a teddy bear. There is also liquid date rape drugs detected in clear bottles that are labeled as “bio-culture of oil.”
Every ounce or milligrams of these dangerous drugs intercepts could be a life saved.
The U. S. Customs and Border Protection agents are also making use of a mind-boggling new piece of equipment called the Twins. The identify of 22,000 substances within a few seconds.
“I plan to activate the laser, and within a few seconds, it’s not going to read it,” said Customs and Border Protection Officer Francis Byrne, when he put the laser pen on an unidentified bag of powder. “In this case, is fentanyl hydrochloride, so that would be a schedule-one narcotic, we would intervene.”
The U. S. Customs and Border Protection says that fentanyl is the most seized synthetic opioids. The synthetic painkiller is so deadly that a few milligrams can kill a person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that fentanyl killed 20,000 people in 2016.
And the amount is taken is growing astronomically.
The U. S. Customs and Border Protection says it seized 1,476 pounds of fentanyl last year, skyrocketing from only two kilograms seized in 2013.
“We certainly focused on the combat of opioids,” said the U.S. Customs Port Director Matthew Davies. “It’s something we’ve been working on for a year, but we’ve put together our efforts in the past year. We have more staff, we have new technology in place, we have trained our K9s to detect fentanyl, so we are definitely on the front lines of it here.”
Agents turn over much of the packages to the police, but it can be almost impossible to track down a criminal sender at a remote location in a country like China, where the majority of the illegal packets will be delivered out of that arrive at the Chicago facility.
Last week, the U.S. House passed an ambitious package for the control of the drug epidemic plaguing America, the blame for 42,000 deaths in 2016.
The comprehensive bill helps direct the health institutes to develop non-addictive painkillers.
It also gives the border patrol and the postal service have a greater ability to crack down on the people who send the drug-filled packages to America.
The bill comes after President Trump last year launched a campaign against opiates and other drugs, even floating the idea of the death penalty for some drug dealers.
“No one is safe from this epidemic, which threatens all, young and old, rich and poor. Urban and rural communities,” said the president.
Matt Finn is a Fox News correspondent based in the Chicago office. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFinnFNC