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BOGOTA, Colombia – Six-year-old German shepherd Sombra helped the Colombian police discover more than 2,000 kilos of cocaine in suitcases, boats and large quantities of fruit.
But when the dog sniffs to record cocaine bans, it has also become the latest target of Colombia's most powerful drug gangs.
The Colombian police have recently announced the Gulf Clan, a cartel, its own guerrilla army, has offered a $ 7,000 reward to anyone who kills or kills the savvy dog.
The threat prompted officials to relocate Sombra ̵
After her six-hour shift is over, Sombra is transported in a transporter with tinted disks back to her kennel. It is usually accompanied by two armed guards.
"We are responsible for their safety," said Officer Jose Rojas, Somra's 25-year-old handler.
Sombras's detective work is needed now more than ever Colombia struggles with rapid coca production, which has traditionally been trying to establish close ties The United States. A recent White House report found that farmers and drug traffickers who grow cocaine rose 11 percent in 2017, despite US $ 10 billion in anti-narcotic drugs.
"President Trump's message to Colombia is clear: the record growth in cocaine production must be reversed," warned Jim Carroll, deputy director of the Drug Policy Bureau.
President-elect Ivan Duque is promising a tougher approach to speeding extinction with strategies that could include aerial spraying and the use of drones. But even with advanced technology, experts believe local detective work, like Sombra's, is critical.
Some of Sombras recent busts include the detection of over five tons of cocaine from the Gulf clan destined for Europe and hidden in boxes of bananas. The police certify their incredible nose more than 245 drug-related arrests at two of Colombia's largest international airports.
"Your sense of smell goes far beyond those of other dogs," said Rojas.
Drug cartels like the Gulf The clan has noted this.
After hearing that Sombras's head was priced, the Colombian National Police Director ordered her to be recruited early this year, local news reports said. The investigators revealed the threat to Sombra by intercepting a phone call.
"Sombra the German Shepherd has become the terror of criminal organizations," proclaimed a recent story in the Colombian newspaper El Espectador.
On a typical day, Sombra gets up at 6 am and shuttles from a kennel to the El Dorado airport to inspect parcels and cargo. With her neon-reflective vest, pointed ears, and gaping mouth, she looks more like a beloved family dog than a veteran drug-sniffing police dog.
Since her rendition in January, the dog named Shadow has snorted thousands of pounds of cocaine from the dark, helping her caregivers find the drug in boxes full of sneakers and wooden chains. A few months ago, the persistent dog also sniffed 77 kilos of cocaine deep in an industrial machine.