NEW YORK, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Federal agents have arrested 21 Colombians for allegedly smuggling heroin into the United States, some of it in packets surgically implanted in purebred dogs.
The Drug Enforcement Administration said in a release Wednesday the suspects were responsible for sneaking some 53 pounds of heroin into the United States using "varied and unique methods."
The plot allegedly employed human "swallowers," who ingested heroin packets and then traveled to the United States. Smugglers also implanted packets of the drug in purebred puppies for shipment, the DEA said.
"The organization's outrageous and heinous smuggling method of implanting heroin inside puppies is a true indication of the extent that drug dealers go to make their profit," said DEA Special Agent in Charge John Gilbride. "This investigation identified the individuals who were responsible for overseeing and smuggling millions of dollars worth of heroin from Colombia to the (U.S.) East Coast."
The DEA said agents also found 13 pounds of cocaine.
Warrants were served in six cities in Colombia Wednesday to cap a 2-year investigation involving authorities in United States and Colombia, the release said.