Feds arrest more than 30 members of a drug ring after a horrible discovery

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 02, 2006 10:00 AM
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More than 30 people were arrested on the East Coast after a horrific discovery: puppies used as drug mules after Colombian drug dealers surgically inserted heroin packets inside them with the hope of smuggling the contraband inside the U.S. border, say federal authorities.

Ten puppies, including Labrador retrievers, were rescued during a 2005 raid on a farm in Colombia, the Drug Enforcement Administration said while announcing the 30 arrests, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators believe the ring used the dogs, as well as humans (who swallowed the drugs), to cloak millions of dollars in liquid heroin on commercial flights into New York for distribution on the East Coast. Drugs apparently also were concealed in body creams, aerosol cans, and the linings of purses and luggage.

As for the pups, a veterinarian had stitched a total of three kilograms of heroin into the bellies of six of them. Three later died from infections once the drugs were removed. It is not known how many dogs in all were used in the scheme, or what their fates were after they made their “deliveries,” said John Gilbride, head of the DEA’s New York office.

“I think it’s outrageous and heinous that they’d use small, innocent puppies in this way,” he said.