Drug cartel puts price on dog's head after cocaine bust

Drug cartel puts price on dog's head after cocaine bust

"Our German shepherd, Sombra, has participated in nearly 300 operations", Col. Tito Castellanos, the deputy director for the anti-narcotics police, told Colombian news agency RCN.

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.

Six years ago, the feared Urabeños offered $500 to anyone who killed a police officer. And she is so good at her job that drug dealers want her dead.

Sombra is also being protected by additional officers in addition to being moved to the Bogota airport, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Since she was transferred in January, the canine sleuth has sniffed thousands of pounds of cocaine out of the dark, helping her handlers find the drug hidden in boxes full of sneakers and wooden necklaces.

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"Sombra is a really friendly, calm dog", Oscar Favian Solarte, head of the anti-narcotics division, told El Tiempo.

"We are responsible for her safety", said Rojas. "She is playful. In fact, during training this is part of her work - not just finding the caches of illicit drugs".

The Urabeños, Colombia's most powerful criminal organisation, is offering 200m peso (about NZ$101,000) for the german shepherd's life, the BBC reports. Its influence expanded across the country around 2012, as it gained control of drug production zones and corridors in the north to traffic materials.

Sombra's detective work is needed now more than ever as Colombia wrestles with soaring coca production that is testing traditionally close relations with the United States.

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