Cartel Puts Hit on Drug-Sniffing Dog After K9 Ravages Entire Operation
As part of the ever-present and ongoing War on Drugs, it is not at all uncommon for the criminal cartels that produce and traffic the illicit drugs to lash out violently against the law enforcement agencies that incessantly work to intercept and stop them.
The violence can include bombing or shooting attacks on police stations, assaults on agents and officers working in the field and targeted assassinations of high-level or overly effective law enforcement leaders, agents and officers.
Thus, it was not unusual to hear that the Gulf Clan, a fierce drug cartel in Columbia that openly hosts its own guerrilla army, had placed a bounty on the head of a member of the Colombian police, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
What was unusual about this particular bounty is that it was issued not against a particular leader, agent or officer, but an exceptionally effective drug-sniffing dog named Sombra.
The Gulf Clan cartel has offered a reward of $7,000 to anyone that can capture or kill Sombra, as the K-9 is reportedly responsible for sniffing out more than 2,000 kilos — more than 4,400 pounds — of cocaine that the cartel was attempting to smuggle out of Columbia.
Sombra was recently credited with discovering roughly 5 tons of cocaine hidden in a shipment of bananas that was about to head to Europe, and has also been credited with making discoveries that have led to at least 245 drug-related arrests at two of Columbia’s international airports.
The drug-sniffing dog had previously been assigned to work at the nation’s busy port in the capital city, but was transferred to Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport in light of the threat posed against it.
The amazing drug dog typically works a six-hour shift that begins around 6 am with a transport from the kennel to the airport, and then back again inside of a transport van with tinted windows that is usually accompanied by two armed guards.
“We are responsible for her safety,” stated 25-year-old officer and handler Jose Rojas, who seemed to imply that the extra protection for the dog was worth it because “her sense of smell is far beyond that of other dogs.”
The dog has even become something of a local celebrity in Columbia due to its incredible record, with one newspaper proclaiming in a story, “Sombra the German shepherd has become the terror of criminal organizations.”
Indeed, it was an intercepted phone call among members of the Gulf Clan that revealed the bounty which had been issued for Sombra.
Nevertheless, the dog continues its work on a daily basis, and “fans” will occasionally stop to pose for selfies with the famous K-9 while it trots around the airport searching for hidden stashes of smuggled cocaine.
Unfortunately, the threat of danger to Sombra is very real, as an estimated 1,800 police officers and a number of dogs have been killed in clashes, targeted assassinations and bombing attacks over the past two decades in Columbia.
Perhaps even more unfortunate is that those losses and the continued threat of more violence and death appear to be part and parcel of a losing battle against the drug cartels, for despite the great work of Sombra and others, cocaine production has actually increased in Columbia in recent years.
In fact, a recent report issued by the White House noted that there had been an 11 percent increase in the amount of land used to grow, harvest and process the illicit drug in 2017, even as the U.S. spent about $10 billion in a direct effort to counter the Colombian narcotics trade.
Bearing in mind the considerable profits the cartels derive from just one kilo of cocaine shipped to the U.S. or Europe — anywhere from $24,000 to $55,000, according to Business Insider — it is not at all surprising that the cartel would want to get rid of a dog that has deprived them of anywhere from $48 to $110 million. Hopefully Sombra’s handlers will continue to keep her safe so she can keep sniffing out those dangerous drugs.
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