Heroin Traffickers Used Puppies to Smuggle Drugs
Medellin-based Organization Surgically Implanted Packets of Heroin in Pure-Bred Dogs
FEB 1-- (New York, NY) - The Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) New York Field Division, Special Agent-in-Charge, JOHN P. GILBRIDE announced the arrests of 22 Colombian nationals who were responsible for smuggling over 20 kilograms of heroin into the United States. The Colombian organization used varied and unique concealment methods.
Human couriers, termed "swallowers", ingested the heroin packets for transporting. Animal couriers were pure-bred puppies that had heroin packets surgically implanted in them. In one instance, six puppies were found impregnated with a total of three kilograms of liquid heroin packets.
In addition, the heroin was concealed in body creams, aerosol cans, pressed into bead shapes, and sewn into the lining of purses and double-sided luggage.
"The organization's outrageous and heinous smuggling method of implanting heroin inside puppies is a true indication of the extent that drug dealers go to make their profit," said Gilbride. "This investigation identified the individuals who were responsible for overseeing and smuggling millions of dollars worth of heroin from Colombia to the East Coast."
To date, there have been 14 separate seizures of heroin totaling 24 kilograms; one seizure of six kilograms of cocaine; and 22 arrests. These arrests came after a two-year multi-agency investigation that identified an organization based in Medellin, Colombia, whose distribution network reached from Miami to New York City. The operation culminated today in an international round-up that included 18 search warrants in six different Colombian cities.
SAC Gilbride thanked the Colombian National Police ANTIN Heroin Task Force and the Eastern District of New York for their assistance with the investigation. The government’s cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney's Daniel Wenner and Paige Petersen of the Eastern District of New York.
Agencies involved included the Bogota, New York, Miami and Atlanta offices of the DEA, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Colombian National Police Heroin Task Force and the Johnston County Sheriffs Department, North Carolina.