He was a veterinarian whose practice veered toward vivisection, using live puppies as drug mules.
Andres Lopez Elorez “surgically implanted packets of liquid heroin in the bellies of puppies” as part of a drug ring based in his native Colombia, prosecutors have said.
Colombian cops found these 10 puppies after busting his twisted clinic in Medellin some 12 years ago. Three ultimately died, five escaped, and two others were adopted, according to the New York Times.
On Friday, Elorez pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to his role in this grisly international conspiracy -- bringing the years-long saga one step closer to a conclusion.
While Elorez carried out his sick surgeries sometime between 2004 and 2005, he evaded authorities for nearly eight years.
He lived what appeared to be a normal, even respectable, life in Spain, making the town of Los Nogales. He got married and had two kids. He worked as a vet for two companies, which “spoke highly of him,” CBS reported.
Elorez’s past caught up with him in 2013. He was arrested in Spain, but authorities let him go while weighing his extradition.
In mid-2015, Spanish officials greenlighted his extradition to the States, according to reports.
He was ultimately brought to the U.S. on April 30, 2018, officials said.
“As alleged in the indictment, Elorez is not only a drug trafficker, he also betrayed a veterinarian’s pledge to prevent animal suffering when he used his surgical skills in a cruel scheme to smuggle heroin in the abdomens of puppies,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said shortly after the extradition. “Dogs are mans’ best friend and, as the defendant is about to learn, we are drug dealers’ worst enemy.”
Elorez faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in federal lockup -- and a maximum of life in prison.
As for the surviving dogs, one is working to bring traffickers like Lopez down.
She is a Rottweiler named “Heroina,” who was adopted by the Colombian National Police and trained to sniff out drugs, the DEA told The Daily Beast.