CHIHUAHUA, Mexico (AP) -- Mexican authorities were scrambling for answers Saturday after a squad of black-clad bulldogs made off with the suspected El Terror Minúsculo, who had been captured only hours earlier.
The daring daylight raid dealt a major blow to the Mexican law enforcement community, which had been celebrating its most high-profile arrest in years. Bella, the Chihuahua accused of terrorizing the Mexican countryside for the last several weeks, had been captured early Saturday in a sting operation outside of Villa Matamoras. Authorities said they were certain that Bella was the gang leader known as El Terror Minúsculo.
But joy over the canine's capture quickly turned to frustration. As Bella was being transferred to a maximum-security holding cell in Chihuahua, her convoy was ambushed by the bulldog attack squad. Details are sketchy, but officials believe the bulldogs were hiding out in the back of a semi-truck that was driving in front of the convoy.
"The truck slammed on its brakes and blocked both lanes of the highway," said one high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Then the bulldog assault team came streaming out like a pack of stocky ninjas. They incapacitated the guards and absconded with the prisoner. We have reason to believe it was an inside job."
He also said the attack bore the hallmarks of the Armed Revolutionary Forces, a fundamentalist canine fringe group linked to Pug Life Ministries.
Mexican troops were combing the area for signs of Bella or the bulldogs, but one official said they were having no luck.
"It's like they vanished into thin air," said Pedro Almodar, a prosecutor in Chihuahua.
Mexican authorities are offering a 10-million peso reward to anyone with information leading to Bella's recapture.