In the world of underground drug trafficking, smugglers have paid people and children to get drugs into the United States by either swallowing balloons, latex gloves, and even condoms, and stuffing other packaging objects into their bodies. Though, different types of living organisms are now being used to traffic drugs across international borders, sadly they are puppies.
On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, Colombian authorities apprehended a Venezuelan veterinarian that has been wanted for years in the U.S. for trafficking heroin into the country that was found stuffed inside the bodies of puppies. The vet had been smuggling drugs between Colombia and the U.S. for years.
According to a spokeswoman with Colombia’s Civil Guard, 33-year-old Andres Lopez Elorza was taken into custody on Saturday in the town of Santa Comba, in the northwestern region of Colombia. Elorza had been evading police after the National Court allowed his extradition in May.
One year ago, 10 puppies, including a few Labrador retrievers, were found by during a drug raid by Colombian authorities and officials from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) at a makeshift veterinarian hospital in Medellin, Colombia. John Gilbride, a special agent with the DEA, stated surgical tools and and operating room were discovered at the animal clinic, as well as a few puppies that were being prepped for surgery.
Although the puppies were rescued from the animal hospital of horrors, three died from complications from infections after having packages filled with liquid heroin implanted into their bodies cavities, most in their stomachs. The seven remaining dog are reportedly all no adopted by families in Colombia.
Over three kilos (6.6 pounds) of heroin was found in all the post-op puppies combined, about one pound per animal. The packets of the liquid brown drug were stitched inside flexible plastic pockets sewn into the loose skin the puppies’ bellies, similar to how it is done to a human.
Elorez was said by international authorities to be hiding in Spain with his family since the incident. He reportedly has had no other instances of being involved in drug or gang activity.
“Throughout my 25-year career, this is one of the most outrageous methods of smuggling that I personally have encountered,” Gilbride said. Sometimes, when drugs are smuggled in people’s body cavities, the packages can rupture, causing massive internal bleeding and death. The human drug transporter is also referred to as a “drug mule,” according to DEA officials.
The organization that was targeted by Colombian authorities and the DEA also used human drug mules to get heroin across the U.S. border. Heroin was also reported to have been found inside aerosol cans, toiletry bottles, and even sewn into the linings of luggage and purses.
The offical arrest count in the drug sting was 22. All suspects are were connected to Colombian operations that implanted heroin into the bodies of puppies.
Elorza still awaits trail after his extradition to the U.S. Charges regarding the puppy torturing have not been filed yet. This was one of the largest heroin stings conducted by Colombian officials and the DEA.
By Alex Lemieux
Jezebel: Very Bad Vet Arrested for Using Puppies to Smuggle Heroin
CBS News: Veterinarian arrested for allegedly smuggling heroin in puppies
New York Times: Heroin Implants Turned Puppies Into Drug Mules, U.S. Says
Photo Courtesy of Graham M Fawcett’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License