Italian Mafia puts an R84k bounty on drug-sniffer dog's head

02 November 2018 - 09:44
Thanks to his skill at sniffing out drugs like cocaine, Poncho the police dog has cost the Italian crime syndicate millions in illicit profits.
Thanks to his skill at sniffing out drugs like cocaine, Poncho the police dog has cost the Italian crime syndicate millions in illicit profits.
Image: 123RF/dedmityay

In its long and infamous history, Italy’s Camorra crime syndicate has targeted many people who have threatened the Neapolitan gangsters’ interests. Judges, investigators, rivals have been gone after and now, according to recent reports, a nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Pocho.

The Times reports that during his career with the Naples police, Poncho has “sniffed out over 2 tons of illegal substances", costing the Camorra “millions of euros in illicit profits”.

The Mafia is fed up and has put a €5,000 (about R84,000) bounty on the dog’s head after having unsuccessfully tried to stop the canine hero by means of poisoned bait and even using female dogs to distract him during raids.

The Mafia  unsuccessfully tried to stop the canine hero by using female dogs to distract him during raids

According to the Daily Mail, a local doctor donated Pocho to the police after it was discovered that his son was allergic to the terrier’s fur. He’s named after former Napoli soccer player Ezequiel Lavezzi whose nickname is El Pocho – “the chubby one”.

Sandro, Pocho's police handler, is quoted in The Week as saying he makes the dog’s work into a game - “once he has found the substance I pull out a ball and throw it for him”.

“The reward is a cuddle and a biscuit.”

Hopefully, Pocho will die of natural causes but, whatever his fate, you can be sure he’ll be going to doggy heaven as a reward for having made a significant dent in the Camorra’s profits.


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