NEW YORK — A veterinarian accused of implanting liquid heroin in puppies for a Colombian drug trafficking ring has pleaded not guilty to U.S. charges.
Andres Lopez Elorza made a court appearance on Tuesday in New York City. He was arrested in Spain in 2015 and extradited to the U.S. on Monday.
U.S. authorities say Lopez Elorza stitched packets of heroin into the bellies of Labrador retrievers and other breeds sent on commercial flights to New York City. They say the packets were then cut out of the puppies, who died in the process.
Ten puppies were found during a 2005 raid on a farm in Colombia.
Lopez Elorza was ordered held without bail. His attorney had no immediate comment.
“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,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said. “Dogs are mans’ best friend and, as the defendant is about to learn, we are drug dealers’ worst enemy.”