Vet implanted heroin in puppies for Colombia drug ring

2018-05-02 17:45
Puppies rescued from a farm in Colombia destined for use by a US veterinarian working for a Colombian drug trafficking ring. (US Drug Enforcement Administration via AP)

Puppies rescued from a farm in Colombia destined for use by a US veterinarian working for a Colombian drug trafficking ring. (US Drug Enforcement Administration via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A veterinarian pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to US charges that he turned puppies into drug couriers for a Colombian trafficking ring by stitching packets of liquid heroin into their bodies.

Andres Lopez Elorza appeared in federal court in Brooklyn after being extradited from Spain, where he was arrested in 2015 on a US warrant. He was ordered held without bail.

Lopez Elorza, 38, who also goes by Lopez Elorez, became a fugitive in 2005 when authorities arrested about two dozen suspected traffickers in Colombia.

Before he fled, the defendant had "gained some notoriety" from accusations that he was part of a barbaric scheme that turned an undetermined number of puppies and dogs into "animal couriers" by stitching packets of liquid heroin into their bodies, Assistant US Attorney Nathan Reilly told a magistrate judge on Tuesday.

It is believed that the dogs were sent on commercial flights to New York City, where the drugs were cut out of them, authorities said. Investigators believe the puppies would have died in the process, but it was unknown how many were involved.

"Over time, drug organisations' unquenchable thirst for profit leads them to do unthinkable crimes like using innocent puppies for drug concealment," James J. Hunt, head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration's New York office, said in a statement.

US Attorney Richard Donoghue said: "Dogs are man's best friend and, as the defendant is about to learn, we are drug dealers' worst enemy."

Ten puppies were found during a 2005 raid on a farm in Colombia, DEA officials said. Five ended up running away, three died from infection and two were adopted, including one that became a drug-sniffing dog for Colombian police, officials said.

Lopez Elorza was born in Colombia but claims Venezuelan citizenship, authorities said.

His attorney, Mitch Dinnerstein, declined comment on Tuesday.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    us  |  drug trafficking

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.