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Last capsule out finally

Customs authorities are finally relieved. The last capsule, suspected to contain cocaine, which was stuck in Pumla Caroline’s stomach since a fortnight, was finally taken out after an hour-long surgery at JJ Hospital on Tuesday, reports Manish Pachouly.

mumbai Updated: Sep 16, 2009 01:14 IST
Manish Pachouly

Customs authorities are finally relieved.

The last capsule, suspected to contain cocaine, which was stuck in Pumla Caroline’s stomach since a fortnight, was finally taken out after an hour-long surgery at JJ Hospital on Tuesday.

The capsule was found stuck in the lower abdomen of the 33-year-old South African woman.

The doctors had tried to remove the same through endoscopy on Monday, but failed. Customs officials took a second medical opinion and the surgery was performed.

Caroline, who was intercepted by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Mumbai Customs on September 1 on her arrival from Sao Paulo in Brazil via Dubai, has ejected 57 capsules but one was stuck in her abdomen. She has been in the JJ Hospital since her detention as initially she refused to eat or drink. She began ejecting the capsules 51 hours after her detention.

Additional Commissioner of Customs (AIU) B. S. Nunwal said the doctor’s report has confirmed that all the capsules have been recovered. He refused further comment. A senior Customs official said Caroline would be arrested on Wednesday after she is discharged from the hospital.

“We will do a preliminary verification of the powder present in the capsule through our drug testing tool,” the official said, requesting anonymity for lack of authorisation to speak to the media. The test will confirm the nature of the powder instantly.

The official added that the powder will be sent for chemical analysis for a detailed report. After verification, the Customs will weigh the powder and confirm its market value.

The Customs officials were desperately waiting for recovery of all the capsules, as they want to interrogate Caroline on the source of the drug. “We want to find out to whom she was to deliver the drug in India,” the official said.

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