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Learning English - Words in the News
29 January, 2007 - Published 15:42 GMT
Police dog's life in danger
Agata the police dog

Agata is a Labrador dog that works for police in Leticia, Colombia. Agata has been so successful at finding illegal drugs that her life is now in danger. This report from Jeremy McDermott:

Listen to the story

Agata is the star anti-narcotics agent in the frontier town of Leticia. Deep in the Amazonian jungle Leticia is a transit point for cocaine and heroin moving to Brazil and Peru. Tired of losing shipments thanks to Agata's vigilance, drugs traffickers have put a ten thousand dollar contract out on her life. The police response has been to assign Agata a bodyguard, as well as her handler, and check that no attempts are made to poison her.

Agata is one of almost seven hundred dogs trained by the police to sniff out drugs. Her beat is Leticia airport and the docks where traffic moves along the Amazon River. The five-year-old Labrador has so far discovered more than three hundred kilos of cocaine, worth more than seven million dollars, and twenty kilos of heroin.

The secret of Agata's success, according to her handler, is that she has boundless energy and is very playful, liking nothing better than to clamber around the luggage at the airport seeking out her prey.

Listen to the words

anti-narcotics agent
person who is involved in the fight against the illegal drugs trade

transit point
place through which things or people pass on the way to somewhere else

watchfulness; the ability to watch something very carefully for danger or trouble

people who buy or sell things illegally

put a ten thousand dollar contract out on her life
said they will pay someone ten thousand dollars to kill her

person who looks after animals

sniff out
find by smelling (NOTE: Agata is a 'sniffer dog').

route that police officers walk, looking out for crimes

limitless; plentiful

thing that is being looked for; a hunted object

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