Colombia’s Most Infamous Cartel is Out to Get This Drug Dog
Sombra the Drug Dog has sniffed out over 2,000 kilos of cocaine.
It’s not exactly uncommon for Colombia’s drug cartels to put out a hit on a vexing foe. It is, however, uncommon for that foe to be a dog. But that’s exactly what one of the country’s most dangerous cartels, the Gulf Clan, has done, according to the Associated Press.
The Gulf Clan put a $7,000 bounty on Sombra, a drug dog whose nose has become legendary in Colombia. That’s no joke as the Gulf Clan apparently boasts a sizable guerrilla army of its own.
Sombra—Spanish for shadow—has helped the country’s police locate over 2,000 kilos of cocaine in everything from industrial machinery to seemingly innocuous boxes of fruit. Police learned of the drug dog hit via an intercepted phone call, prompting them to relocate Sombra to safer territory: the El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, the capital. Now, she is delivered to work in an unmarked van with tinted windows, always accompanied by two armed guards.
Once she arrives, Sombra screens luggage and other cargo for drugs, and her notable nose has already led the authorities to a few big finds. The drug dog has sussed out a whopping 77 kilos in the aforementioned industrial equipment, where it was hidden deep in the machine’s workings, and uncovered five tons of Gulf Clan cocaine packed into crates containing bananas. She’s credited with over 245 airport arrests between the country’s two largest international airports.
The huge number of high-profile busts that Sombra has been involved in have made her just as famous with Colombia’s citizens as it has made her infamous with the Gulf Clan. She is regularly stopped by fans at the airport, who want a selfie with the country’s most well-known drug dog.
The celebrity is certainly warranted, according to drug dog handler Jose Rojas. “Her sense of smell is far beyond that of other dogs,” he told the AP. And that exceptional sense of smell is in more demand than ever.
A White House report, released on June 28, found the amount of land used to harvest cocaine in Colombia increased by 11 percent from 2016 to 2017. President-elect Ivan Duque has vowed to crack down harder on the illicit drug trade, even suggesting he’ll use drones to spray herbicide on coca crops.
Over 1800 officers in the country’s national police force have been killed over the past two decades fighting the drug war. A few dogs have been killed too, but they typically die from on-the-ground eradication efforts, not drug-sniffing activities. But with a $7,000 price on her head, Sombra’s handlers probably still have plenty of cause to worry.
Hmm, if only there was something that could help Colombia’s rural farmers become independent from the cartels they depend upon for income. Oh wait, there is!