Disturbing new way drug cartels are smuggling drugs into America was discovered when authorities found liquid heroin packages had been surgically inserted into puppies' bellies. Veterinarian Andres Lopez Elorza is accused of being behind the drug dog mule operation when ten puppies were found during a 2005 raid on a farm in Columbia, according to DEA officials.
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Lopez Elorza appeared in federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday after he was extradited from Spain. The veterinarian was arrested in Spain in 2015 on a U.S. warrant and ordered held without bail. The 38-year-old Lopez Elorza became a fugitive in 2005 when he was arrested along with two dozen suspected traffickers in Columbia.
The disgraced veterinarian "gained some notoriety" from accusations he was behind a barbaric scheme that turned puppies into "animal couriers" by surgically inserting liquid heroin packages into their bodies, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Reilly. The puppies were then sent on commercial flights to New York City where the drugs were then cut out of them. It is unknown how many animals were used in the operation but investigators believe it is unlikely the dogs would have survived the process.
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James J. Hunt, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's New York office said in a statement, "Over time, drug organizations' unquenchable thirst for profit leads them to do unthinkable crimes like using innocent puppies for drug concealment." U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue also commented saying, "Dogs are man's best friend and, as the defendant is about to learn, we are drug dealers' worst enemy."
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