Colombia drug gang puts $70,000 bounty on sniffer dog

Colombia drug gang puts $70,000 bounty on sniffer dog

Colombia drug gang puts $70,000 bounty on sniffer dog

Sombra the six-year-old German Shepherd has been sniffing out drugs as part of Colombia's anti-narcotics police since she was a puppy - but now, one of the country's most powerful gangs has put a price on her head.

Colombian police said Sombra, whose name translates to Shadow, will now be accompanied by extra officers during her deployments for her safety, BBC News reported. 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 United States counter-narcotics work.

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Handler Jose Rojas and drug dog Sombra patrol outside the cargo hold of El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia.

President-elect Ivan Duque promised a tougher approach on coca production during his election campaign, with strategies including aerial spraying and drones.

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Intelligence sources say drug sniffing dog's record success has lead the Colombian cartel to put a 200m-peso ($70,000) price on its head, BBC News reports. She recently discovered about 5.8 tons of cocaine in the town Turbo and an additional 4.4 tons in vehicle parts that were set to be exported. Investigators uncovered the threat against Sombra through an intercepted phone call.

Colombia's national police estimates that it has lost at least 1,800 officers over the past two decades and a number of dogs to the war on drugs.

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The dog is credited with the arrest of 245 suspects and is a national hero in Colombia, where adults and children often take selfies with their arms wrapped around Sombra's furry neck. Some officers were killed by hitmen acting on the orders of drug traffickers, while others died in attacks like bombings on police stations.

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