Federal agents have seized nearly 9 pounds of opium concealed in wicker baskets headed to Minnesota from Laos via O’Hare International Airport.
Packing information labeled the parcels, found at an O'Hare mail facility, as “handy crafts” and “sticky rice baskets,” according to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
A drug-sniffing customs German Shepherd, Allen, drew attention to the two parcels at the facility, and the customs officer who works with the dog found several wicker baskets inside that were “unusually heavy and thick” when he opened the packages on Monday.
X-rays showed that the baskets were unusually dense and had anomalies, according to the release. When the baskets were cut open, officers found a plastic-wrapped, black tar substance that field tests indicated contained opium.
The opium weighed 8.73 pounds, authorities said.
The packages were destined to be delivered to towns in the area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., and the intended recipients are being investigated in the case, customs officials said.
No one has been charged in the case, said customs spokesman Brian Bell.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun