In an occurrence that has become commonplace in Colombia’s fight against drug trafficking, police caught a married couple in the El Dorado Airport in Bogota on Tuesday attempting to carry over three kilos of heroin out of the country.
The husband and wife, apprehended with the help of the police’s specialized canine unit, are the 9th and 10th Mexican nationals to be arrested in related cases this year, and the 41st and 42nd foreigners caught smuggling the opiate overall.
Jose Raul Moreno, 39, and his wife, Daniela Maria Castaneda, 38, arrived in Colombia July 16th of this year, using tourist visas. At the time of their arrest, they had one and 2.34 kilos respectively concealed in their luggage and were preparing to board an airplane headed for Mexico City. Their daughter of 20 months has been turned over by authorities to the Colombian Institute of Family Wellbeing.
According to Esteban Arias Melo, a colonel in the Anti-Narcotics Division, the couple could face sentencing of between 9 and 20 years in prison.
Colonel Melo expressed regret that an infant was dragged into the situation and warned foreigners not to allow themselves to be used as mules in international drug trafficking.
The police did not specify whether Moreno and Castaneda were working within a larger organization, and there are no precise statistics regarding exactly how prevalent practices such as this one are in Colombia.
Considering the high volume of arrests, however, and the fact that the numbers provided pertain only to heroin, it’s difficult to imagine this increasingly public method of small-scale drug smuggling doesn’t play a significant role in the operations of international cartels.