A Venezuelan veterinarian has been arrested in Spain after remaining fugitive for years. The man, identified only as 33-year-old Andrés L.E., is charged with implanting packets of liquid heroin in puppies traveling from Colombia to the United States to be sold as pets, in order to smuggle the drug into America.
The man spent ten years as a fugitive and was finally found in Spain, where the national Civil Guard has placed him under arrest for drug smuggling. Before the discovery of his work trafficking hard drugs out of Colombia, the man had been the head of a veterinary clinic in Medellín, a mountain city in Colombia once synonymous with drug trafficking. In 2005, Labrador and Rottweiler puppies en route to the United States were found to be carrying bags of liquid heroin in their stomachs. This is when Andrés fled the country.
Spanish police had previously arrested the man in 2013, but he once again escaped while waiting to be extradited to Colombia. He is currently waiting to be extradited to the United States.
Spain’s 20 Minutos notes that it is highly unlikely that Andrés operated alone; he was part of a drug trafficking ring, though no information is given regarding which ring, who is running it, or out of what country it is being operated. Both Colombia and Venezuela are fertile grounds for drug trafficking though, due to extensive efforts alongside the United States against the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), cities like Medellín have become increasingly inhospitable to large drug operations.
In contrast, Venezuela under the socialist dictatorship of the late Hugo Chávez and, now, Nicolás Maduro has become the target of international law enforcement for increasingly attracting drug trafficking. Defectors working deep inside the highest ranks of the Venezuelan government have accused Maduro’s #2 in command, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, of being the head of the Cartel de los Soles, a cocaine trafficking operation believed to be run exclusively by members of the Venezuelan military. A former Venezuelan assistant Secretary of State has accused Maduro of not participating in the drug trafficking himself, but of being tolerant of it and even accepting campaign donations known to have come from cocaine sales.
While Cabello remains untouched by the scandal under Maduro’s purview, other Venezuelan officials suspected of ties to drug trafficking have not been so lucky. General Hugo Carvajal, a former chief of Venezuelan intelligence, was arrested last July in Aruba for allegedly aiding FARC rebels in their efforts to smuggle cocaine into the United States.