Meet Sombra, the German shepherd that Colombian drug smugglers want dead

A VICE News investigation reveals Sombra is a very good dog. So good, in fact, that Colombian drug smugglers want her dead.

A VICE News investigation reveals Sombra is a very good dog. So good, in fact, that Colombian drug smugglers want her dead.

Sombra, or “Shadow” in English, is a 6 year old drug-sniffing German shepherd who earns her treats working with the Colombian National Police. She's friendly with kids, extremely photogenic, and directly responsible for over 200 arrests and the seizure of at least nine tons of illegal drugs.

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Now, she’s in the crosshairs of one of Colombia’s most powerful criminal organizations, which has offered up to 200 million pesos, or about $70,000, to anyone who captures her — dead or alive.

In response to the threats, she’s been moved away from Colombia’s Atlantic coast ports, through which the Urabeños drug gang move most of their product, according to Colombia’s RNC Radio. She's currently working at Bogotá’s international airport, away from the Urabeños’s territory on the coasts, where she reportedly has an armed entourage of security guards to keep her safe.

The Urbeños gang, also known as the Gulf Clan, and its leader Otoniel, are known for putting out hits on their enemies, though the bounty is usually a bit lower. Back in 2012, for example, they put out a $500 reward for anyone who killed a cop.

“The fact they want to hurt Sombra and offer such a high reward for her capture or death shows the impact she’s had on their profits,” a Colombian police spokesperson told the Telegraph.

Sombra has been the very cute bane of drug smugglers' existence in Colombia since at least 2016, when she sniffed out 2,958 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride tucked away in a shipment of bananas, according to RCN Radio.

The drug trade is thriving in Colombia, where some 465,000 acres in the country are used to cultivate coca, the base ingredient for the drug. Production increased by 20 percent in 2017 from the prior year, according to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Cover image: A member of the Colombian Technical Investigation Unit (CTI) stands guard next to a shipment of seized marijuana on January 19, 2018, in Medellin, Colombia. JOAQUIN SARMIENTO/AFP/Getty Images.