A HAUL of almost €115,000 worth of liquid cocaine has been seized at Dublin Airport.
A 64-year-old Bolivian national who was stopped after routine profiling by customs officers during the week had just arrived from a flight that originated in Rio de Janeiro.
The suspect, who had ingested the cocaine, was handed over to gardai and later produced 39 packages which were filled with the drug.
Seizures of liquid cocaine are relatively unusual in Ireland, but turning the powdered drug into a liquid is a favoured method of drug trafficking gangs.
This type of smuggling makes it much harder to detect through the use of X-ray or ultrasound scanners
Half a kilogram of the drug can be diluted in a litre of water.
Sources say that it is also easy for liquid cocaine to be returned to its original state, as 90pc can be decanted and filtered.
Customs officers have warned that those who swallow the drug are taking an enormous risk.
"It's very dangerous. If the pellets burst they are dead, even if it's just one, because the purity is high," said a source.
While seizures of liquid cocaine are rare here compared with other countries, last April customs officers uncovered 1kg of cocaine in liquid form inside nine condoms. Six of them were hidden in shampoo bottles and three ingested by a 21-year-old courier.
The Portuguese national, who had arrived on a flight from Buenos Aires, was unwell and had to be taken to hospital. He was later charged by the Ballymun garda drug unit.
Couriers receive minimal money, or sometimes nothing, for smuggling, often to pay off drug debts.
In July 2012, a 23-year-old Lithuanian drug mule who was caught with more than €70,000 worth of liquid cocaine which he had swallowed in capsules was jailed for three years at Dublin Circuit Court.
The court heard that he travelled from Dublin to Brazil to collect the drugs after responding to an internet advertisement offering the chance to make some money.