Six Nigerian men were apprehended at Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil, just as they were about to board a flight to Ethiopia. They are now facing international drug trafficking charges as they were arrested on Tuesday during routine checks by Federal Police agent
One suspect drew attention through suspicious behavior, prompting an inspection that led to the discovery of his contact with cocaine. According to the Federal Police chief Dennis Cali, “It’s a very detailed analysis of the passenger’s profile, ticket purchase profile. There are many analyses to be done until we [detect] the suspicious person.”
The subsequent tests and searches revealed that each of the six men had swallowed dozens of capsules containing cocaine. X-ray images displayed between 100 to 150 capsules concealed in their abdomens. The suspects were swiftly transported to a local medical facility for procedures to expel the drugs.
Cali highlighted the challenges faced by authorities, stating, “We don’t have the body scan system here at the airport. So it’s a very detailed analysis of the passenger’s profile.” Despite these difficulties, since 2019, Guarulhos International Airport has apprehended 43 individuals carrying cocaine in capsules, amounting to a total seizure of 15,464 kilos of the illicit substance.
The suspects, listed on the National Migrant Registry, had previously entered Brazil. Three had even sought asylum, and one was apprehended at Guarulhos International Airport in 2017 on an arrest warrant. This incident adds to the complexity of border control efforts.
Upon arrival in Ethiopia, three of the suspects had connecting flights to the northern Nigerian city of Kano. They are now expected to appear before a federal court judge, underscoring the international ramifications of their alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
Cali emphasized the urgency of rushing the suspects to the hospital, expressing concerns that one of the capsules could have broken, potentially leading to a fatal overdose. He stated, “There are many analyses to be done until we [detect] the suspicious person.”
This arrest sheds light on the persistent issue of drug smuggling through the use of capsules, emphasizing the ongoing efforts to strengthen airport security measures and combat transnational narcotics trafficking.