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Ivory Coast woman arrested at Thai airport after swallowing over a kilo of cocaine

December 31, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Ivory Coast woman arrested at Thai airport after swallowing over a kilo of cocaine An X-ray of an African woman arrested at Phuket International Airport on December 27, 2017, for smuggling cocaine

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A 27-year-old female from the Ivory Coast has been taken into custody on the island of Phuket in Thailand after an X-ray machine at the airport revealed over one kilo of cocaine in her stomach covered in scores of small packets.

The woman was detained by agents on Wednesday night at Phuket’s international airport after coming into the country on a flight from Doha, The Daily Mail reported.

An X-ray indicated that the woman had over 60 small packages in her stomach, filled with 1.2 kilos (2.6 pounds) of cocaine, Sirinya Sitdhichai, the secretary-general of Thailand’s Office of Narcotics Control Board, revealed.

The drugs were likely destined for wealthy clients in Bangkok, he noted.

A policeman in Thailand shows confiscated capsules of cocaine after arresting a woman from the Ivory Coast woman for drugs smuggling at Phuket International Airport

“Unlike meth, cocaine and ice (crystal meth) are for a niche of rich customers,” he told AFP.

He said traffickers based in West Africa routinely hire African or Asian women as “mules” to sneak drugs into Thailand, a country whose porous borders and air links make it a popular transit hub for all types of contraband.

Smugglers usually fly into smaller airports outside of Bangkok and travel by road to distribute the drugs in the capital.

Thailand, a country of approximately 68 million, has the world’s sixth largest prison population because of harsh drug laws that were passed over a decade ago but have neglected to dismantle the narcotics trade or decrease addiction rates.

An X-ray of an African woman arrested at Phuket International Airport on December 27, 2017, for smuggling cocaine

Over 70% of the country’s convicts are jailed for drug-related crimes.

The proportion is even greater among the 39,000 female inmates in Thailand, which jails more women per capita than any other country.

While couriers and other low-level smugglers are frequently arrested, police have struggled to bust kingpins and dismantle their trafficking organizations.

The most popular drug in the kingdom is meth taken in the form of caffeine-laced pills known as “yaba,” which translates to “crazy medicine.”

The pill, and a more powerful and pure version known as “ice,” are produced out in drug labs in the Golden Triangle Zone where northern Thailand borders with Myanmar and Laos.

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