A veterinarian, extradited to New York City, pleaded not guilty in court on Tuesday to implanting liquid heroin into puppies for a Colombian drug trafficking ring. Andres Lopez Elorza, 38, arrived at JFK airport on Monday afternoon.
According to KhqNews, Elorza had been arrested in Spain in 2015 and extradited to the United States. He has been charged with conspiring to import and distribute heroin. Authorities in the United States allege Lopez, a Venezuelan veterinarian, alluded capture for ten years before he was arrested in 2015 trying to smuggle heroin into the United States by “sewing” the drugs into puppies.
In 2005, Elorza had been working at a clinic in Medellin, Colombia when police found 6.6 pounds of heroin implanted into several Labrador, Basset hound and Rottweiler puppies. The dogs were rescued, but three of the puppies died from infections as a result of the implant surgery.
“Traffickers will go to great lengths,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt. “These guys are evil geniuses in ways to think and hide the drugs, secret them. This case was exceptionally heinous.”
The drug traffickers, whose distribution network went from New York City to Miami, used multiple methods to move the heroin – the puppies just being one of their evil schemes. The seven surviving puppies were adopted to families in Colombia; one of the dogs, Heroina, a Rottweiler, became a drug sniffing dog for the Colombian police.
“As alleged in the indictment, Elorza is not only a drug trafficker, he also betrayed a veterinarian’s pledge to prevent animal suffering when he used his surgical skills in a cruel scheme to smuggle heroin in the abdomens of puppies,” stated United States Attorney Richard Donoghue.
If found guilty, Elorza faces a mandatory prison sentence of ten years and possibly imprisonment for life. Let’s hope so.
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