The drugs covered in protective cling film which have been recovered by police in Italy
Dogs were forced to swallow packets of cocaine by South American gangsters so the drug could be smuggled into Europe, it was claimed yesterday.
The 48 animals were then butchered to retrieve the consignments once they landed at Linate airport in Milan.
One of the dogs used for drug trafficking lies in a basket after being seized by authorities
Packages were wrapped in black vinyl tape to shield them from X-ray checks in Italy – where dogs do not have to go into quarantine. It is not clear what pretext was used to fly the dogs into Italy.
Police wiretaps led to arrests in the Milan area in March. The operation was first uncovered in April last year when a female trafficker confessed.
A vet holds wraps of drugs recovered from the body of a dog used as a drug's mule.
Dogs are being forced to ingest bags of cocaine and then later sliced open to retrieve the wraps from their bodies
An Italian judge yesterday ordered 49 suspects aged 19 to 37 from Ecuador, Peru and El Salvador – thought to be part of youth gangs known as ‘pandillas’ – to stand trial in October.