An Italian judge has ordered 49 suspected Latin American gang members to stand trial for allegedly using dogs to smuggle cocaine into the country.
The animals were forced to swallow plastic packets containing the drug before being sent to Italy on flights that usually landed at Linate airport in Milan.
The packages were wrapped in black vinyl tape to shield them from X-ray checks at the airports.
On arrival, they were killed and dismembered to retrieve the cocaine in a case which has outraged animal rights activists.
The suspected gang members, between 19 and 37 years old, are thought to be part of youth drug gangs known as “pandillas”.
The smuggling operation was first uncovered in March, when 75 arrests were made.
Animal rights activists say many of the dogs must have died before arriving in Italy, as a small leak of cocaine would have been enough to kill them.
The 49 Latin Americans will stand trial starting October 9th.
If you or someone you love is in need of treatment for drug abuse, please give us a call at 800-951-6135