A Colombian drug cartel has put out a $70,000 hit on a drug-sniffing dog credited with helping authorities find nearly 10 tons of cocaine, Newsweek reported.
Authorities have relocated Sombra (which translates to “Shadow” in English) after the Urabeños, Colombia’s most powerful criminal organization, put the bounty on the German shepherd’s head, according to published reports.
What's the background?
Sombra did much of her work along the Atlantic coastline of the South American country, focusing on the town of Turbo. The area is a central location where speedboats and submarines ship tons of cocaine into Central America and the U.S., reports state.
Colombia is considered the world's largest supplier of cocaine.
The six-year-old dog has been transferred to Bogotá to work in the El Dorado airport where she can be more easily protected from the cartel’s threats, Newsweek reported.
While working along the coast, Sombra helped sniff out 5.3 tons of cocaine. She is also credited with recently sniffing out 4 tons of cocaine stashed in car parts waiting to be exported, reports state.
How bad is this cartel?
The drug cartel’s leader is Dairo Antonio Úsuga, also known as "Otoniel," and is one of Colombia’s most wanted criminals. The cartel controls a majority of the country’s drug trafficking trade.
In June, 1,000 police officers were dispatched to hunt for Úsuga in Northern Colombia, according to reports. Authorities reportedly used Black Hawk helicopters and had him within striking distance but he managed to avoid them.
In 2009, the U.S. government offered a $5 million reward for his apprehension after he was indicted by a New York court. The State Department described Úsuga’s gang as "a heavily armed, extremely violent criminal organization comprised of former members of terrorist organizations,” reports state.
Urabeños has also offered monetary rewards for the murder of its human opponents. In 2012, for example, the cartel issued leaflets that offered $500 for killing policemen. The reward was the result of retaliation for the death of Juan de Dios Úsuga, a cartel leader at the time, reports state.
The hit on Sombra is high because it reflects the gang’s “anger over the deep financial losses” the dog has caused to the organization.