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MEMPHIS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) K9 Yoko and his partner, CBP Officer Boyce, work at the Port of Memphis, averaging two drug seizures per shift. Yoko, a four-year-old German shepherd, was bred in Germany, purchased from a U.S. vendor and immigrated to the U.S. to attend K9 training in Front Royal, Virginia. 

CBPO Boyce and K9 Yoko looking at shipments
K9 Yoko alerts CBPO Boyce to an odor in a shipment

Yoko originally worked at the port of entry in rural Presidio, Texas, but was transferred to Memphis where the work environment was determined to be a better fit. Presidio is a small land border port southeast of El Paso, known for summer temperatures over 120 degrees. CBP’s work in Memphis focuses on the mostly indoor mail environment, where the night shift has a vast, regular flow of shipments requiring screening. Yoko transferred in July 2022 to utilize his well-tuned concealed humans and narcotics skills.

 

The center in Front Royal delivers formal canine training to international, federal, state, and local agencies promoting the U.S. government’s objectives in anti-terrorism, border security, customs, immigration, and facilitation of legitimate trade and travel. The K9s are trained to detect the following odors: marijuana, hashish, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine and fentanyl. After being paired with handlers, their training together lasts 7 weeks. 

Close up of K9 Yoko
K9 Yoko and his toy

 

Lately, Yoko has been averaging two seizures per shift, frequently sniffing out marijuana en route to Europe from the U.S. On November 16, 2022, Yoko and his handler, CBP Officer Boyce, seized 12 kilograms of marijuana en route from the Los Angeles area to The Netherlands. A shipment labelled as a skiing outfit concealed numerous shrink-wrapped bags of marijuana.

 

 “Yoko, known around the port as the “The Wolf,” is an outstanding worker,” said CBP Officer Barry Boyce. “He enthusiastically works to find what he was trained to find. He never gets tired and never needs any coffee.”

Marijuana packages
Shrink-wrapped marijuana packages found in a ski suit shipment

The average career length for a K9 is 8 years. As the daily grind of their work takes a toll on their bodies, it unfortunately forces them to rest their paws well before their search drive wanes. Retired K9s live the relaxed life of a pet, frequently adopted by their former handlers or other CBP personnel.

 

The New Orleans Field Office covers ports of entry throughout the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.    

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