Colombian veterinarian pleads guilty in Brooklyn federal court to heroin importation conspiracy
Defendant was a member of conspiracy that used puppies to secretly transport narcotics
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Andres Lopez Elorez pleaded guilty today before U. S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy in federal court in Brooklyn to conspiring to import heroin into the United States.
Richard P. Donoghue, U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division, announced the guilty plea.
Elorez and his co-conspirators, based in Colombia, smuggled heroin into the United States using various methods to conceal narcotics from law enforcement, including the surgical implantation of liquid heroin into the bellies of puppies. When the puppies arrived in the United States from Colombia, the heroin was surgically removed from their bodies. Between Sept. 8, 2004 and Jan. 1, 2005, Elorez and his co-conspirators imported one kilogram or more of heroin into the United States. Elorez was extradited from Spain to the United States in May 2018.
When sentenced, Elorez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment. Upon completion of his sentence, Elorez faces deportation from the United States.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Nathan D. Reilly and Alicia N. Washington are in charge of the prosecution.