A top sniffer dog used by Colombian police has become a troublemaker for the nation's top drugs cartel, which has put a $70,000 price on the pooch's head after it busted tons of the gang's cocaine. A few months ago, the tenacious hound also detected 77 kilos of cocaine placed deep inside an industrial machine.
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.
"Her sense of smell is far beyond that of other dogs", Jose Rojas, Sombra's 25-year-old handler, told the Associated Press.
Sombra is a 6-year-old German shepherd who has been on Colombia's counter-narcotics police force since she was a puppy.
The Anti-Narcotics Police reported that a shipment of sports shoes headed for Australia, marked "Colombian National Team", were packed with cocaine. 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 USA counter-narcotics work.
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President-Elect Ivan Duque is promising a tougher approach to speed up eradication of the drug, including aerial spraying and the use of drones. As a result she has been moved to work in an airport in a new area outside of the gang's influence, and will be accompanied by extra officers according to The Daily Telegraph.
"We are responsible for her safety", said Rojas. But even with advanced technology, experts say on-the-ground detective work such as Sombra's is critical.
In Colombia drug traffickers have established a reward of $70 thousand for the head of the police dog, which found a record number of drugs.