A Colombian woman died Thursday after smuggling an estimated $175,000 worth of cocaine to New Zealand inside her stomach.
Sorlinda Arirtizabal Vega, a 37-year-old Colombian woman, traveled with her family to New Zealand from Buenos Aires, Argentina on Tuesday, reported New Zealand media. Shortly after arrival Vega was brought to a hospital in Auckland, New Zealand and died on Thursday due to at least one ruptured package of cocaine inside of her.
Autopsy results revealed that the woman was allegedly carrying roughly 26 packages of cocaine, containing a little less than 28 grams within each. The estimated street value of the drugs is said to be around $175,000 dollars.
Immigration agents informed Radio New Zealand that the woman had visited the country with genuine documentation and had made it through airport security without suspicion.
In the aftermath of Vega’s death, authorities are reportedly having language difficulties as they interview the woman’s family. “Essentially we’re trying to establish whether there are any links between this woman, her family and organized crime in New Zealand,” Detective Inspector Scott Beard told Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams.
“We don’t know how many people have come in previously, we know this year this is the first time a person has been found to be carrying or smuggling cocaine into New Zealand inside their body,” the detective said. Beard noted that there are always serious risks to health when smuggling drugs internally and this woman has paid with her life.