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‘Beagle Brigade’ helps Customs agents snatch slimy stowaways in Atlanta airport

Candie and Chipper are the heroes we never knew that we needed.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson airport is the business in the world, boasting an unprecedented amount of daily air traffic in and out of the City Too Busy to Hate.

And, given Atlanta’s reputation as the preeminent transportation hub of the east coast, (sorry NYC), there are no shortage of strange and wild items traversing this fine city.

Beware, however, if you should choose to attempt any sort of illegal smuggling in the capital of the south…they’ll send these good boys after you.

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Customs and Border Protection agents in Georgia seized two Giant African Snails, a species that was once eradicated in the U.S., from the luggage of someone traveling back from Nigeria.

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Candie and Chipper, two members of the “Beagle Brigade”, were on patrol at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Thursday when they alerted CBP’s Agricultural Specialists to an individual’s bag at the international arrival baggage claim area, the agency said in a press release.

After searching the suitcase, agents found two of the giant snails, alive, and several illegal fruits and vegetables that the Beagles also alerted agents to.

Candie and Chipper, two members of the “Beagle Brigade,” sniffed out the contraband found in one traveler's bag. 

Candie and Chipper, two members of the “Beagle Brigade,” sniffed out the contraband found in one traveler’s bag.  (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

These pint sized pups may have just saved the day, too.

The Giant African Snail was first found in the U.S. in Florida in the 1960s and took approximately 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDOA). It was later reintroduced into Florida and Hawaii in 2011.

The snail, which can grow up to eight inches long, is considered “one of the most damaging snails in the world” as it feeds on at least 500 different types of plants and can cause structural damage to stucco and plaster buildings.

It also can be harmful to humans because it carries a parasitic nematode which can cause meningitis. According to the USDOA, Giant African Snails are difficult to eradicate because they reproduce quickly, producing around 1,200 eggs in a year.

We’re not sure if these pups are up for a promotion anytime soon, but they at least deserve a few good belly rubs for their hard work.

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