383 foreigners are currently held in jails in Colombia, mainly for
carrying or smuggling drugs. The second largest group is held for the
production of child porn.
Foreigners that are locked up for drug related crimes make up 90 percent of the foreigners in Colombian jails and consists of Italians, Mexicans, Germans, Dutch and other nationalities, newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday.
According to anti-narcotics police commander Álvaro Caro Meléndez, drug gangs are interested in using foreigners for smuggling drugs, because they would generate less suspicion than Colombians. “They are sent here as tourists, are paid three days in a nice hotel and are then convinced to return to their countries with drugs, either in their suitcases or as ‘mulas’.
In 2009 so far, seven foreigners were caught with drugs on El Dorado airport in Bogotá. In 2008 135 were detained and in 2007 203 were caught with drugs.
According to Teresa Moya, director of Colombia’s prison institute, the foreigners receive no special treatment and are detained under the same circumstances as Colombian criminals. The only expection is that they are allowed visits by diplomats.