A woman has been caught trying to smuggle 3.7 pounds of cocaine through Madrid International Airport inside her breast implants. The 43-year old Venezuelan women was said to have appeared nervous after arriving at the airport on a flight from Colombia. Her gestures and behaviors raised the suspicions of narcotics agents present at the airport, who took her aside for questioning and searches. The incident took place at the beginning of this month but details were not released until this week.
The agents searched the woman’s luggage and found nothing amiss, befuddled they conducted a full body search in which the woman appeared to be clean from drugs, but there were some strange irregularities in the shape of her breasts. There were what appeared to be deformations in the tissue, which raised suspicions further.
At this moment, the woman’s nerves got the better of her, and she confessed that she was smuggling drugs within the breast implants. She was taken to a local hospital where the implants were removed. The woman was found in possession of 3.7 pounds of cocaine, the street value of what she was carrying was approximately $2.5 million.
Smuggling drugs into a country via breast implants is an unusual but not unheard of practice. Spanish police have seen this behavior before as people have used the method to attempt to remain undetected. In 2012, a woman arrived in Barcelona from Colombia with 2.8 pounds of cocaine hidden in her breast implants. In this case the woman was Panamanian and she was discovered when the border police noticed that she was bleeding. The wounds underneath her breasts were so fresh that they had not healed properly. After this incident, European police have been particularly vigilant in checking passengers arriving from Latin America. Both of these cases of women smuggling cocaine inside of breast implants, in 2012 and now in 2014, have been off flights coming in from Bogotá, Colombia.
According to New York City board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schulman, alerts were put out years ago regarding the potential use of breast implants by terrorists as a way to transport bombs. The use of implants to move illegal items is not something that the plastic surgery community are unaware of, and many surgeons are on the look out for suspicious behaviors. Schulman believes that this method is used to smuggle drugs more often than most people are aware of. He explains that it is done by replacing the saline breast implant with bags of cocaine.
Schulman also warns that these procedures are not usually done under sterile conditions so there is a large risk of infection and other complications. According to Schulman, there is also a risk that the carrier’s body will absorb the cocaine, which would almost certainly result in death from overdose.
Other drastic methods of drug smuggling have included drugs mixed into a cast put onto a leg, drugs mixed into crockery and the use of birds to hide drugs under their feathered wings. Spain has specially trained and focused police units to watch the incoming flights from parts of the world which are known for drug smuggling.
So far, at Madrid International Airport this year, there has been over 1,102 pounds of cocaine and 13 pounds of heroin confiscated, and a total of 189 arrests for drug smuggling. In an incident at the beginning of this month, a woman was caught smuggling 3.7 pounds of cocaine inside her breast implants.