A mother and a daughter were arrested at Bogota’s international airport while trying to board a plane to Madrid with 20 kilograms of cocaine hidden in their luggage, authorities reported on Monday.
During a routine check at the El Dorado airport, officers found ten packages of white substance concealed in the double bottom of each of the bags belonging to the women.
“The names are Elena Beatriz Garcia Ardila, 43-year-old, housewife, and her daughter Viviana Garcia Ossa, 19, living in the city of Cartago, Valle del Cauca,” read a police statement.
“During the preliminary identification analysis, the substance tested positive for cocaine hydrochloride of a net weight of 45.85 pounds. The two women were immediately arrested and presented with charges of drug-trafficking”, reported the police.
So far in 2014, anti-drug operations in the El Dorado International Airport have resulted in 227 arrests and seizure of 1135 pound of cocaine with a market value of approximately $12.6 million.
According to authorities, families traveling overseas with drugs in their luggage is one of the new forms through which drug cartels try to mislead the police at ten international airports in the country.
“With the use of this strategy, traffickers try to fool the authorities into thinking that they are just harmless families traveling abroad; they are people who do not generate suspicion,” read a statement by the Ministry of Defense from September.
Colonel William Valero, head of the Port State Control and of the Narcotics Department of the National Police at the airport, reported incidents of family groups of up to five people, two or three of whom smuggle drugs.
In almost all cases they attempt to board flights to Central America and Europe. Although most of the arrested are Colombian citizens, on the rise is the number of cases of foreign nationals detained at airports for drug trafficking, confirm official figures.
There are people from Mexico, Spain, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Venezuela, Italy, Holland and Ecuador. We have also had minor cases with citizens of Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico, Romania, Finland, Russia, Philippines, Australia, China, Chile and Indonesia.” said Valero.
Besides the new method of drug trafficking with the use of inconspicuous families, there has been “a significant increase in cases of men and women over 30 years of age involved in this criminal activity,” authorities said.
Valero also mentioned arrests of couriers trafficking drugs in their stomachs, so-called mules, of up to 78 years of age.