A 38-year-old Colombian vet appeared in a New York court Tuesday, accused of injecting liquid heroin into puppies to evade border control in a drug smuggling ring.
Andres Lopez Elorez was arrested in Spain on a US warrant and extradited to the United States on Monday. If convicted on conspiracy charges, he risks spending at least 10 years and potentially life behind bars.
His arrest was part of a 12-year DEA investigation and he was remanded into custody, pending trial, US officials said.
Prosecutors say he used his vet skills to surgically implant packets of liquid heroin into the bellies of puppies transported from Colombia to the United States. Once in America, the heroin was surgically removed, officials said.