2 Men From Costa Rica Arrested in Colombia With Thousands of Dollars Hidden in Stomachs

Posted on Sep 15 2012 - 3:02am by Rico

“This form of money laundering is new in Colombia. So far we have detected many cases of drug intake to exit the country,” Wilson Patiño, regional director for the Department of Immigration (province) of Antioquia, told AFP.

Colombian police on Friday said they had arrested two men arriving at airport in Medellin on flights from Costa Rica after discovering they were smuggling $80,000 in cash hidden in their stomachs.
Authorities say the men swallowed the dollars wrapped in latex, much like some drug smugglers hide cocaine and heroin.

A Colombian citizen was taken into custody on Sept. 8 after arriving on a flight from Costa Rica. Authorities say he had seemed nervous and later admitted swallowing the money, which was all in $100 bills and separated into 40 latex-covered packets, each of them about an inch in diameter.

Police took the man to a clinic in Medellin and gave him laxatives that forced him to pass the packets in his stool.

A second man, this one carrying Venezuelan papers, was arrested on Thursday after arriving from Costa Rica with cash hidden in his stomach.

It was not clear if the money was to be used in a drug transaction.

The two men have told police they are businessmen and said they didn’t know each other. Authorities said they could be charged with money laundering. Their names were not released.

“This form of money laundering is new in Colombia. So far we have detected many cases of drug intake to exit the country,” Wilson Patiño, regional director for the Department of Immigration (province) of Antioquia, told AFP.

In Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, operate numerous criminal groups engaged in small-scale trade and export of cocaine, among other drugs.