DULLES, Va. — Phillip has a preference for small handbags. Larger bags may yield bigger loads of contraband, but he doesn’t care. For him, it all pays the same. A single Snausage, or maybe a Pup-Peroni dog treat. Wearing his dark blue vest that says, “Protecting American Agriculture” above the U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo, he alerts. The subject is, at first, oblivious. She has her roller bag, her shoulder bag, she ambles toward the exit.
Phillip’s partner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection K-9 officer Valerie Woo, moves in, makes the collar. From that shoulder bag comes a ham sandwich secured in plastic wrap that Woo says was a snack on the 1:10 p.m. Air China flight arriving in Dulles from Beijing. It is the first of three ham sandwiches Phillip and fellow canine team member Beazley find from that flight alone. Phillip also sniffs out two apples and two oranges.
Prohibited items include meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, seeds, soil and products made from animal or plant materials, the details predicated on a traveler’s embarkation point. But it is
the pork that is most troubling right now.
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