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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 06:42 GMT 07:42 UK
Labrador survives drug smuggling
Rex had 11 plastic containers surgically inserted
A dog's role in a "callous" attempt to smuggle cocaine into the UK from Colombia has been revealed in court.

Rex, a Golden Labrador, was one of two dogs who had containers holding cocaine surgically inserted into their stomachs.

Their odd behaviour and dodgy paperwork prompted suspicious airport staff in Amsterdam to contact Customs officers after the dogs arrived from Colombia.

A man and woman were convicted on Wednesday of trying to smuggle the cocaine, worth 126,000, into the UK.

Gregory Graham, 27, and Kaye Chapman, 20, of Harrow, north-west London, were arrested when they went to collect the dogs from Stansted Airport last September.

Rex and black Labrador Frispa were examined and x-rayed by a vet after one was acting aggressively and the other weak.

They had scars, about four weeks old, on their stomachs from where 21 packets of cocaine had been stitched into them.

Gregory Graham and Kaye Chapman
Graham and Chapman will be sentenced in September
An operation to remove them was successful for Rex, but unfortunately Frispa had to be put down as the containers had fused to his organs.

Det Ch Insp Andy McDonald, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "No matter how ingenious you believe you are being in concealing your consignment, we will intercept it.

"You will then be charged with serious offences and put before the courts."

Det Ch Insp McDonald added: "This was an extremely callous method of drug importation that resulted in the death of Frispa and the needless suffering of Rex - who now thankfully has fully recovered."

The dogs were x-rayed by a vet
The dogs were x-rayed by a vet

The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday that only four people know the whereabouts of Rex as he was in the canine equivalent of a witness protection programme.

The Metropolitan Police told BBC News Online it did not comment on witness protection schemes - even those involving dogs.

Graham and Chapman were convicted at Norwich Crown Court and face sentencing on 3 September.

Co-defendants, Sophia McPherson, 24, from Luton, Bedfordshire, and Glenroy Kentish, 28, of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, were cleared of conspiracy to import drugs.

Pair hid cocaine inside dogs
21 Jul 04  |  London
'Drugs in dogs' three in court
07 Oct 03  |  Essex

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