Published: Sun, July 29, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Colombian Mafia Puts $70,000 Bounty On Sniffer Dog

Colombian Mafia Puts $70,000 Bounty On Sniffer Dog

A drug-sniffing dog that helped law-enforcement authorities in Colombia find more than 10 tons of cocaine is being reassigned because of a crime organization's death threats.

Colombian narcotics officer Sombra - a decorated German Shepherd - is on the run after one of the most powerful drug cartels put a $70k bounty on her furry head.

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias "Otoniel", is the head of the Urabeños, one of Colombia's most powerful criminal groups and one of the country's most wanted men.

To protect the prized pup, the Colombian National Police moved Sombra from doing coastal patrols to the inland city of Bogota, where she now works in the capital's worldwide airport.

"Her sense of smell is far beyond that of other dogs", said officer José Rojas, Sombra's 25-year-old handler.

After her six hour shift is over, Sombra is transported in a van with tinted windows back to her kennel.

It comes as no surprise to Colombian police, who say Sombra, meaning "Shadow" in English, has led to the seizure of nine tonnes of cocaine and the arrest of 245 suspects, many of whom are linked to Urabenos.

In 2016, the country's cocaine production reached the highest levels ever observed, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

President-elect Ivan Duque is promising a tougher approach to speed up eradication with strategies that could include aerial spraying and the use of drones. In return, the gang, also known as Clan del Golfo, reportedly put a hit out on the dog for $70,000.

Colombia's national police estimate it has lost at least 1800 officers in the last 20 years as well as several police dog in its effort to combat the drug trade.

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