An elite Mexican sniffer dog kidnapped five days ago was found abandoned in a Mexico City park on Monday and reunited with its police handlers.
Working on a tip, federal police found Rex IV -- a highly trained Belgian Malinois sheepdog with a string of drug hauls to its name -- tied to a tree in a park in the gritty Iztapalapa neighborhood, a Public Security Ministry spokesman said.
"When they realized the police were onto them, they abandoned him in a park," the spokesman told Reuters, adding that the dog's identity was confirmed by scanning an embedded electronic chip.
The dog, part of an elite drug squad, was snatched from Mexico City airport on August 22 while it was en route for an operation in the northern state of Sinaloa. The thieves left a black mongrel puppy in its travel cage.
Police only realized Rex IV was missing when the puppy turned up in Mazatlan airport, Sinaloa. They feared the stolen dog, which one official compared to an intelligence agent, could help smugglers find new ways to conceal drug stashes.
Quite how the police got onto them is unknown: although reports that they've arrested a couple of the people who worked for the dog transport firm shows that they have a pretty good idea who was involved. And it's that last which was the real worry: not that they'd lost a dog...that would have been sad but not hugely important....but that the drug smugglers would have been able to experiment on new ways of hiding drugs.