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"Beagle tracks down illegal items at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport"
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Beagle tracks down illegal items at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport
KHOU-TV Ch 11 (CBS), Houston (TX)
HOUSTON - A beagle named Merlot is using his nose to guard the International
Gates at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.
During the last few months, he has cost nearly a dozen passengers their
Global Entry membership after they were found with illegal products.
If you become a Global Entry member, you can bypass the long lines, cutting
your wait from an hour to just 60 seconds in some cases. To become a
member, you must first clear a strict background check and go through an
interview and fingerprint process. The membership costs $100 and, so far,
more than 13,000 people have signed up in Houston.
"The Global Entry is a trusted traveler program, so when you are enrolled in
the program we expect you to be very, very honest," said Chief Alma
Montemayor with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Merlot helps provide an extra layer of security.
"He is a great dog. He works hard. He knows what he is supposed to do. He
comes out here every day ready to work," said Customs Officer P. Hobler.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a wall of shame, containing shelves
full of illegal items people tried to bring in.
"There are people who forget and there are some who try to sneak it in
also," Hobler said.
The products are banned because they are unsafe. Some of them may carry
dangerous pests. Sometimes bugs hitchhike their way into the United States
and can destroy our crops.
As KHOU 11 News was beginning to leave the airport, we witnessed Merlot's
nose hit on another piece of luggage. The canine then stopped and sat down.
"I am going to ask the passenger what kind of fruit they have in the bag and
refer them to our agriculture specialist area," Hobler said.
It turned out the traveler was illegally bringing in Mexican sausage called
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