Irishman caught with 72 cocaine capsules in Brazil
These are the amazing scanner images of the abdomen of a young Irishman caught smuggling cocaine at an airport in Brazil.
The man, identified only as P.B.B., was stopped as he tried to board a flight from Sao Paulo to Lisbon in Portugal and then connecting to Brussels in Belgium.
He was carrying 72 bags containing almost a kilo of cocaine inside his intestines.
The 20-year-old man, who was caught last Monday at Congonhas Airport, was taken to the Santa Misericordia Hospital where the capsules, containing 830g of cocaine, were removed from his body.
Police said it was his nervous behaviour that tipped off the authorities.
The drugs would be worth approximately €150,000, police sources said.
He has now been charged with international drug trafficking which carries a sentence of up to 15 years.
Last week a Colombian woman, who flew from Argentina, died in a New Zealand hospital after a bag of cocaine burst in her body.
Sorlinda Vega (37) arrived from Buenos Aires carrying 26 packages weighing 1oz each.
More than 70,000 people a day are estimated to pass through San Paulo international airport and approximately five a day are arrested for drug smuggling.
The airport, which has connections to 53 countries, is known as the main exit point for drug mules bringing cocaine from South America to the rest of the world.
Drug mules are paid anything from €1,000 to €6,000 per trip.
The largest contingent of those arrested are from South Africa, where poverty makes the lure of easy money even more attractive, but San Paulo’s jails contain smugglers from all over the world.
Brazil’s penal system is notoriously slow and it can take up to six months after arrest for the first court hearing or 12 months for a sentence to be passed.
Prisoners are allowed parole after two-thirds of their sentences have been served, but have to stay in the country which can be particularly difficult for foreigners with no jobs or family support.