- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Crazy Joe, a Customs and Border Protection drug-detector canine, has been named the top service dog in the United States after helping seize more than $13 million in illicit narcotics.

The award, given as a part of an international program known as Paws to Recognize that honors the contributions of professional service dogs, was accepted by Robert C. Bonner, former U.S. Customs Service commissioner who now heads CBP.

Crazy Joe was among six finalists for the award from over 15,000 nominees. The winner was announced yesterday in New York. He and his handler, Canine Enforcement Officer Cindy Grob, will receive a medal today during ceremonies at the Humane Society of the United States in Washington.

“Crazy Joe works with such enthusiasm and perseverance that together we are a very effective team,” said Officer Grob. “Working together, we are trying to make a difference. On his behalf, I want to thank the many people who have recognized both him and his work.”

The other finalists were Roselle, a Labrador retriever who helped guide her blind partner to safety from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center on September 11; Jake, a Labrador retriever who helped search the World Trade Center for survivors; Remington, a Labrador retriever who assists U.S. Capitol Police search for explosives; Zorra, a mixed-breed dog who helps therapy patients at a Virginia hospital; and Peekaboo, a papillon who helped her owner pursue a career.

Crazy Joe, a male yellow Labrador retriever, began his law enforcement career in 1998 with the U.S. Customs Service. He was selected as the winner in the contest not only because of his numerous narcotics seizures and contributions to the education of children, but also because he, like many of the CBP canines, came to the agency from an animal shelter.

Mr. Bonner said Crazy Joe began his law enforcement career at Washington Dulles International Airport, with his first partner, Canine Enforcement Officer David Snyder. He was credited with sniffing out 17 pounds of marijuana hidden in a cardboard box with cellophane and black pepper; 531 grams of crack cocaine and 54 grams of marijuana inside a closet wall at a private residence; and 683 grams of crack cocaine and 199 grams of marijuana hidden in two vehicles.

In 2001, Crazy Joe returned to the Canine Enforcement Training Center in Front Royal, Va., and was the focus of attention by holding the position of “demo” dog. He participated in numerous demonstrations throughout Washington and Virginia, spreading the message to schoolchildren about the dangers of narcotics. Last year, after completing his tour of duty at the training center, he was assigned to Officer Grob and the pair was sent to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Mr. Bonner said Officer Grob and Crazy Joe have since made numerous narcotic seizures, including 2,854 grams of cocaine concealed in a false-bottom suitcase that resulted in five arrests; 1,054 grams of cocaine in the belly of an aircraft; 1,790.1 grams of heroin in a false-bottom suitcase, leading to the discovery of a passenger who swallowed 76 pellets of heroin; and two suitcases containing coat jackets lined with 1,238 grams of heroin.

He said Crazy Joe’s most recent seizure was 17 pounds of cocaine found in a false-bottom suitcase, which also contained three cheese cans of cocaine.

“The smugglers have attempted to conceal the odor of the smuggled narcotics from Crazy Joe, but even through the odor of hot peppers, mothballs, duct tape, molasses, cellophane and black pepper, Crazy Joe has proven he is definitely ‘top dog’ when it comes to discovering narcotics,” Mr. Bonner said. “He’s crazy like a fox.”

Crazy Joe will have his paw prints enshrined in cement, creating a Canine World Heroes Walk of Fame.

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