A former 'gangster' dog, who once protected a Columbian a drug lord is being re-trained by police to fight crime. 'Pecas', which means freckles in English, had previously belonged to Colombian gang member Cesar Martinez, known as Tierra. The dog was confiscated by authorities and put into a six-month training programme when his owner was captured by authorities.
Major Milton Leonardo Sandoval, deputy head at the police academy dog training school near Bogata, said: "Pecas is a dog who arrived at the school some ten days ago. It was seized during an operation to arrest a drug trafficker. It turns out the dog was protecting him and warning him about activities taking place in his surroundings."
Martinez was one of the nine arrested members of drug gang, 'El Usuga', and the third most important member of the gang who controlled cocaine routes to Central America. He had 100 men working under his command and was in charge of obtaining heavy weapons and logistics equipment.
The mongrel dog, three, is now being trained together with other police dogs. "We have introduced Pecas to the other dogs at the police academy in order to allow it adapt to the other dogs in order to remove any aggression the dog may show towards other animals or people," said Sandoval.
"The head of narcotics told us to train this dog in a speciality and so we are training it for search and rescue missions. It's a dog who meets with the requirements for this. Genetically, we can see it has a great sense of smell and we think it can be used for the good of society."
Colombia is a principal producer of cocaine, with an annual output of about 290 tons, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The country's once-prolific drug cartels have been weakened by US-backed police offensives over the last two decades and now act mainly as suppliers for Mexican organisations.