Columbian vet who smuggled heroin to U.S. in puppies sent to prison

Jackie Botts of Reuters writes that a Colombian veterinarian who surgically implanted liquid heroin inside live puppies to smuggle the drug into the United States was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday.

Andres Lopez Elorez, 39, admitted conspiring to import heroin and will be deported to Colombia after his sentence, according to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York.

“Every dog has its day, and with today’s sentence, Elorez has been held responsible for the reprehensible use of his veterinary skills to conceal heroin inside puppies as part of a scheme to import dangerous narcotics into the United States,” Richard Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

According to prosecutors, between 2004 and 2005 Elorez leased a farm in Medellin, Colombia, where he reared dogs and sewed bags of liquid heroin into nine puppies for importation to the United States.

During a search of the farm in 2005, foreign law enforcement agents seized 17 bags of liquid heroin weighing nearly three kilograms (6.6 lb), including 10 bags extracted from the puppies. Three puppies died after contracting a virus following the surgeries, U.S. prosecutors said.

Michigan women put heroin in recovery home manager’s food in poisoning attempt

Sarnia is known as the armpit of Ontario, because it’s a chokepoint at the end of Lake Huron and full of oil refineries.

It’s the home of Canadian rockers, Max Webster and nothing else I can think of.

My first wife, the veterinarian with whom I had four beautiful daughters, whomst (I know that’s not a word) have now spawned three grandsons, was from Sarnia.

She would remind me occasionally that she got paid to castrate males of various species.

I slept comfortably for years.

Across the river on the American side is a town called Port Huron.

According to Roberto Acosta of M Live, these two (left) allegedly attempted to poison a recovery home manager by dumping heroin in her dinner.

Officers with the Port Huron Police Department were sent out around 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13 to the home in the 1200 block of Lapeer Road where the 38-year-old victim resided with the two women and others.

The victim is the recovery home manager who heard rumors that she was being poisoned by the two clients, police said.

One of the suspects is believed to have placed heroin in the victim’s macaroni and cheese on Friday, Jan. 11. The victim thought the food tasted funny and eventually discarded the meal.

Port Huron road patrol officers and detectives investigated the incident. The victim was treated at McLaren Port Huron and evidence was obtained by police indicating she’d been poisoned.

Shanna Marie Kota, 39, and Sarah Elaine Prange, 22, were later arrested and lodged in the St. Clair County Intervention Center. Both suspects were arraigned Tuesday, Jan. 15 and pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of poisoning, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and had their bonds set at $100,000 each, according to district court records.

The suspects are scheduled to be back in court later this month for a probable cause conference.

As a side note, when students collect news, we try to get them to verify the geographical location.

When this story came up, it was labelled Missouri.

My second partner spent part of her youth in Missouri. And part in Michigan.

Anyone who has watched the TV show, Ozarks, knows Missouri is its own special kind of place.

The French professor may not know veterinary technique, but it may not matter?

It involves meat: Creative ways to score heroin

While a suspect believed to be involved in a fatal shooting during a failed bid to take over the drug trade in a Manhattan McDonalds snorted drugs in a precinct interrogation room from a bag he pulled from his own butt on Saturday, the Brits are more creative. Daly of Vice reports that two weeks ago, early on Sunday morning, Scott walked out of a supermarket on the outskirts of Leicester with two joints of beef, 14 packs of chicken breasts and four beef steaks stuffed into his coat and trousers. Making it to the street, he walked round the corner to a local garage and sold the lot for £30.

Scott used the cash to buy a couple of bags of heroin and a rock of crack, while the mechanics took some choice cuts take back to their families for Sunday dinner. Back in the supermarket, the shelves were restocked.

Scott managed to lift and sell all that meat without anyone noticing – well, until the shop’s sales and takings were tallied up at the end of the month – but many aren’t so fortunate; every couple of weeks there are reports of heroin users appearing in magistrates courts throughout the UK after being caught stealing meat. 

Shoplifting is on the rise, and considering a slab of pork belly in your coat pocket is a little less conspicuous than, say, a boxed and tagged digital camera, it’s no surprise the most recent Global Retail Theft Barometer study identified meat as one of the most commonly stolen items from supermarkets. It’s got so bad, in fact, that some places have resorted to tagging and boxing their meat because it keeps on walking out the door.

“Back in the day it was electric toothbrushes and razors, but now meat is the go-to product to steal,” says Scott, a 42-year-old heroin and crack user who’s taking me on a walk through Leicester’s city centre supermarkets. “I need to do all my shoplifting before 10AM – before I start rattling – so on the average day I’ll get up at 7AM. Some shops don’t bother with security until 10AM because they think all the heroin addicts are lazy and still in bed.”

trainspotting.foodWalking into a Sainsbury’s he quickly appraises the meat shelves, picking up a leg of lamb priced at £21. “This is what you want,” he says. “Stick this down your trousers, sell it down the pub and that’s a bag of heroin right there.” He puts it back on the shelf, although already we’ve got a security guard eyeing us up. “Legs of lamb are harder to get – popular with everyone, a joint of meat makes people feel good; they can bring it home to the family.” Next he scoops up 10 packs of high-end bacon: “This would just go down my coat. I’d tuck my body warmer into my belt so it doesn’t fall out.” He says he prefers the vacuum-packed bacon over the stuff sold in plastic trays because he can fit twice as many down under his coat.

“I have a few regular pubs I sell meat in; most of the pubs where I sell meat are estate pubs. In some of them the landlord will ask for first refusal before he lets me offer it to his customers. Sometimes I have to sneak in and sell it without the manager knowing.”

The selling of meat in pubs – these days mainly by heroin users – isn’t anything new, which is perhaps why it’s tolerated in many working class areas. One pub in London’s East End in the 1960s was known as “Dewhursts”, after the chain of butcher shops, because it sold so much meat that had been diverted from the docks.

UK woman finds blood-covered needle in bread

A woman in Britain opened a loaf of bread to make a sandwich for her 10-year-old child, but discovered a blood-covered needle inside. The needle had been used by a heroin-user.

According to Gulfnews, the woman bought the bread in Pendleton, Greater Manchester. When she noticed the syringe, she handed it in to 13320police, the Daily Mail reported.

Police used DNA tracing to track down 61-year-old David Rodgers of Salford, Greater Manchester, the Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.

The needle had been pushed through the plastic wrapper by Rodgers, when he visited the shop with his wife, in a desperate attempt to avoid her finding out he was back on the drug.

The man pleaded guilty to contaminating the loaf with intent to cause public alarm.

When danger lurks in the grocery aisles, call the Recaller

Deciphering recall information is tough for the regular consumer.

Automated phone calls to shoppers have been appreciated. Pictures of products have also helped to clear things up.

But it seems that retailers need some assistance accessing and utilizing recall information to better aide consumers.

Recalled products were found on grocery and convenience store shelves after:
Salmonella bacteria were discovered in Veggie Booty snacks,
botulinum toxin was found in Castleberry’s chili,
Topps meat was recalled due to E. coli contamination,
Listeria monocytogenes was detected in Maple Leaf deli meats, and
dairy products were found to contain melamine.

Growing up, my brother Skyler had an awesome Batman alarm clock. When it was time to get up, the Bat-Signal would shine on the ceiling and a voice would say, “Gotham City is in trouble; call for Batman!” It was a great call to action.

I think the citizens need another hero: The Recaller.

Along with a handful of producers, some grocery retailers have specialized personnel on staff to manage food safety issues.

Barry Parsons
fills that role for the three Stauffers supermarkets in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

When he gets news of a recall, Parsons says,

"Twenty minutes to a half an hour and it’s off the shelf."

POW. BAM. WHAP. The threat is negated.

My bother Jesse (currently a third grader) found a hero in Spiderman.

All the aforementioned recalls have shown that the production and distribution of food today has the power to reach and—positively or adversely—affect many, many people. And you know what Uncle Ben says about great power….

"There’s a lot of responsibility being in the food business," Parsons said. "I really care about this.

"Because it could be a child. I’ve had children myself. Imagine if your child got sick. How would you feel as a parent? The elderly — they’re susceptible. My parents are in their 80s. That really hits me."

That’s what I see as a culture of food safety.

The superhero I favored was a good guy from Kansas: Superman.

(At right: Dean Cain’s costume from ‘Lois and Clark’ was on display alongside old mining equipment and [representative] boxes of stored film reels at the  Kansas Underground Salt Museum when Bret took me last year.)

The Pennsylvania Recaller says of his position,

"You’ve really got to be dedicated to it, and you’ve really got to have a sense of caring.

"You’ve got to say, ‘No matter what’s going to happen, I’m going to make sure my customers are safe, my employers are safe.’

"This is not something I do as a job. It’s just what I do. It’s who I am."

UK warning: When doing heroin, beware the Clostridium

The UK Health Protection Agency has sent an advisory to health service organizations and partners, including needle exchanges, to warn of the new Clostridium contamination in batches of heroin.

In 2001, there were a total of 108 cases – 60 in Scotland, including 50 in Glasgow, 26 in England and 22 in Dublin, including 43 deaths.

Extensive microbiological investigations led to the identification of Clostridium novyi Type A from 13 cases in Scotland, two in Dublin and two in England.
C novyi is most commonly associated with infection in farm animals and human battlefield victims.