In Brief

Mafia orders hit on Pocho the Jack Russell

Neapolitan Camorra have put £4,400 bounty on nine-year-old sniffer dog’s head

An Italian mafia syndicate has offered a cash bounty on a rather unusual nemesis - a drug-sniffing dog named Pocho.

According to Italian media, the nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier is a key target of the Neapolitan Camorra, one of the largest and oldest Mafia families in the world.

The Times reports that Pocho is “credited with having sniffed out more than two tonnes of illegal substances during his career with the Naples police”. The canine crusader is one of the “greatest threats” to the mobsters’ drug trafficking operations, depriving them of “millions of euros in illicit profits”, the newspaper adds.

Pocho’s “latest heroics include detecting almost five stone of cocaine during a raid”, along with finding “cocaine disguised as milk powder in a baby’s bottle”, says the Daily Mail.

The Camorra is said to have “left poisoned bait for him” and has reportedly attempted “to protect its drug stashes by placing female dogs nearby to distract him”.

Following the failure of those ploys, the gangsters are now offering a €5,000 (£4,440) reward for his death.

Pocho originally belonged to a doctor living near the San Paolo soccer stadium, home of Napoli Football Club, but was donated to the police when the owner realised his son was allergic to the dog’s fur, the Mail says. He was named after the former Napoli footballer Ezequiel Lavezzi, who is nicknamed El Pocho, which means The Chubby One. 

Pocho’s handler, named only as Sandro, told a local newspaper that Pocho’s exploits for the police are “a game for him, because once he has found the substance I pull out a ball and throw it for him”.

Sandro added: “The reward is a cuddle and a biscuit.”

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