Vet who stitched packets of liquid heroin into puppies' stomachs to smuggle drugs sentenced to 6 years in prison
39-year-old Lopez Elorez reportedly participated in a scheme that turned dogs into drug couriers by stitching packets of the drug into their stomachs
A 39-year-old veterinarian student, who surgically implanted liquid heroin in puppies for Colombian drug traffickers, has been sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday. Andres Lopez Elorez's sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue and other law enforcement officials in Brooklyn after he pleaded guilty of conspiring to import heroin into the United States in September.
Elorez reportedly participated in a scheme that turned dogs into drug couriers by stitching packets of the drug into their stomachs. According to reports, out of at least nine of such procedures he performed, three of the animals died after contracting viruses.
ANIMAL CRUELTY— Jim Slater (@69mib) May 2, 2018
Andres Lopez Elorez, a Colombian veterinarian, appeared in court in Brooklyn accused of cruel surgery to turn puppies into drugs mules. He is alleged to have implanted liquid heroin in puppies who were then flown to the US & killed. pic.twitter.com/dVMcpLGHwa
The US government said that Elorez had leased a farm in Medellin, Colombia, where he secretly raised dogs for importing narcotics. Law enforcement, on January 1, 2005, searched his farm and seized 17 bags of liquid heroin, including 10 bags that were removed from the puppies. Reports state that there were more bags found at the establishment which were to be implanted into the canines.
“This sentencing closes the case on a trafficking organization that used live puppies to smuggle drugs from Colombia to New York,” said Ray Donovan, head of #DEA NY. https://t.co/zh0DMJMmbt pic.twitter.com/sCkXu90Vvt— DEANewYork (@DEANEWYORKDiv) February 7, 2019
Elorez, who was a fugitive for 10 years, was finally arrested in Spain in 2015. He was eventually extradited to the US in May 2018 for his "calculated and aberrant" actions, the Daily Mail reported.
"As a veterinarian-in-training, the defendant had a duty to do no harm to animals. He betrayed that duty when he used his veterinary skills as part of a scheme to implant liquid heroin into dogs so that Colombian narcotics traffickers could surreptitiously import heroin into the United States," prosecutors said during the sentencing.
The 39-year-old admitted to his actions on Thursday and said they were a complete betrayal of his pledge as a veterinarian to do what he can to prevent animal abuse.
España extradita a Estados Unidos al veterinario Andrés López Elorez que supuestamente escondía heroína líquida en el estómago de cachorros que exportaba como perros de compañía al país norteamericano. pic.twitter.com/SSKkudi3R3— Noticieros Hoy Mismo (@HoyMismoTSI) May 1, 2018
Elorez, while speaking about how he "conspired with an experienced veterinarian," said in court: "I did this even though I knew I was doing wrong and I was committing a crime."
Reports state that at least two of the puppies who were rescued from the farm went on to have a better existence as one of the puppies became a drug-detection dog named Heroina. The Rottweiler was reportedly trained by Colombian police. The other dog, a beagle named Donna, was adopted by a Colombian police officer and his family.