Two men have been arrested for attempting to use man's best friend to smuggle illegal drugs into the country.
Police were called to the American Airlines Priority Parcel Services at JFK Airport this week when someone noticed something wrong with a dog crate. Once they took the crate apart, officials realized that a shepherd-mix breed dog had been shipped from Puerto Rico with more than $1 million of heroin stashed beneath a false bottom of the kennel.
Samuel Seabrooks, 35, and Carlos Betancourt-Morales, 27, are being accused of meeting at the Bronx Diner Friday night before arriving at the airport. When Betancourt-Morales went to sign for the dog and collect the drugs, he was immediately stopped by police.
The next day, police and the NYPD's Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad worked together to conduct a search of the crate. They uncovered 10 bricks of heroin, and Seabrooks and Betancourt-Morales were taken into custody. The pair is charged with drug possession and conspiracy, and bail is set at $500,000 or $250,000 cash.
If convicted, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison. District attorney Richard Brown told NBC New York:
"It's alleged that man's best friend was used in an attempt to smuggle drugs into the city. But great police work led to the seizure of more than 10 kilograms of heroin concealed within a dog crate."
Using animals as international drug mules isn't unusual. In some cases, smuggelers surgically sew packets of drugs inside the animal's body. In that respect, this dog was lucky. He's unharmed and has been taken to the local ASPCA where he will be cared for until a decision about his future is made.
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