Colombian drug cartel puts £53,000 price on dog’s head

Colombia’s ‘most powerful’ cartel offers $70k for police sniffer dog that busted tons of coke

Credit General Jorge Nieto

The powerful Colombian drug gang Urabeños put a hit out for Sombra, a 6-year-old German shepherd, who recently sniffed out more than 22,000 pounds of the gang's cocaine supply. (About $300 million worth.) She's also helped to take 245 suspects off the street. A few months ago, the tenacious hound sniffed out 77 kilos of cocaine placed deep inside an industrial machine.

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"Sombra is a very friendly, calm canine, and for that reason, she has no problem approaching children or people who want to say hello to her", Oscar Favian Solarte, head of the anti-narcotics division, told El Tiempo.

She's since been relocated to an airport in Bogotá, where, according to the news outlet, she's accompanied by extra security officers to ensure her safety.

Colombian pure cocaine production also increased by 19 per cent from 772 tonnes in 2016 to 921 tonnes in 2017. A recent White House report found the amount of land where peasants and drug traffickers harvest the plant used to make cocaine rose 11% in 2017, despite $10bn in U.S. counter-narcotics work.

Rojas said the star-like attention hasn't gotten to Sombra's head.

"Sombra the German shepherd has become the terror of criminal organizations, " a recent story in Colombia's El Espectador newspaper proclaimed. But even with advanced technology, experts say on-the-ground detective work like that performed by Sombra is critical. Now, she's hanging out in the Bogotá worldwide airport instead, where the Urabeños hopefully can't get to her. BBC says Sombra, which means Shadow in English, is also being accompanied by additional officers rather than just her handler.

But the dog can handle the high profile, her owners have said. "She understands orders from a leader, and she's more playful than the others".

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