Veterinary Student Sent to Prison for Implanting Heroin in Puppies

Back in 2004, veterinary student Andres Lopez Elorez did the unthinkable. He secretly raised puppies to use as drug-smuggling mules and surgically implanted liquid heroin in the skin folds along their bellies.

Elorez became a fugitive after police raided his farm in Medellin, Colombia on New Year’s Day in 2005. The police discovered 17 bags of liquid heroin. Ten of those bags had already been surgically implanted in puppies, with the purpose of importing them into the United States on behalf of a Colombian drug-trafficking operation. Other puppies were being prepared for surgery.

It was “one of the most outrageous methods of smuggling” a former head of the the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York office said he’d ever been aware of.

Finally, after nearly 15 years, justice has somewhat been served. Elorez was captured and arrested in Spain three years ago. In May 2018 he was extradited to the U.S. and pleaded guilty. The charges weren’t, surprisingly, for animal abuse, but for conspiring to import and distribute heroin into the United States.

“Elorez 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,” United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue stated in a DEA press release at the time. “Dogs are man’s best friend and, as the defendant is about to learn, we are drug dealers’ worst enemy.”

On February 7 a Federal District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y. sentenced Elorez to six years in prison. Prosecutor Alicia N. Washington unsuccessfully asked the judge to send Elorez away for nine years for “betraying his responsibility as a veterinarian,” the New York Times reports.

Washington argued that without Elorez’s veterinary skills, the drug traffickers would not have been able to use the puppies as drug-smuggling mules. The DEA press release from May 1, 2018 said Elorez faced “a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment,” but unfortunately, that somehow didn’t turn out to be the case.

What’s also disturbing is that an unidentified Colombian veterinarian “of some influence” mentored Elorez, according to Elorez’s attorney. That veterinarian, who was also involved with the drug cartel and organized the puppy smuggling operation, showed Elorez how to perform the surgeries.

“Every dog has its day, and with today’s sentence, Elorez has been held responsible for the reprehensible use of his veterinary skills to conceal heroin inside puppies as part of a scheme to import dangerous narcotics into the United States,” Donoghue said in a February 7 DEA news release.

The sentencing “closes the case on a trafficking organization that used live puppies to smuggle drugs from Colombia to New York,” DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan stated.

Whatever happened to those poor puppies? Following the 2005 raid on Elorez’s farm, three of them suffered post-surgery infections from which they sadly did not survive. Five of the puppies ran away.

The outcome was much better, fortunately, for the remaining two survivors. One of them, a Bassett hound, was adopted as a family pet by a Colombian police officer. Most fittingly, when the other survivor, a Rottweiler puppy, later named Heroina, grew up, she was trained to become a drug-detection dog for the Colombian National Police.

109 comments

joan s
joan silaco26 days ago

thank you

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h28 days ago

tyfs

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Kevin B
Kevin B29 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Leo C
Leo Cabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Amparo Fabiana C
Amparo Fabiana Cabout a month ago

What people do for money and sacrifice the animal kingdom. Karma is beyotch.

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Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago

TYFS

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Susanne Wiesneth
Susanne Wabout a month ago

Every time you think: it can't get any worse, another monster will get up to make you clear: believe me, I'll make it worse. A veterinary student? What the hell was his intention to become a vet? And what the hell: why wasn't responded to his crime in time? Within years: only two animals surviving the worst kind of abuse?.. I'm an atheist, but if the bible is right: eye by eye, tooth by tooth, then I'll agree. Jail would be a too pleasant punishment (mom and dad, forgive me, you always tried to educate my brother and me to justice), but this time I can't help: set this scum under heroin and watch them begging for more and more, suffering hell from not getting more and more to feel what they've done to these poor animals, and with "them": it's also meant indifferent law makers, having closed their eyes right at the wrong moment.

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Rita Delfing
Rita Delfingabout a month ago

Sickening, and all but two dogs suffered. People are greedy he must have been a terrible Vet if he was willing to do something like this.

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

how utterly cruel and disgusting.

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Renata Kovacs
Renata Kovacsabout a month ago

Sad world we live in sometimes Poor Pups,,

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