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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Woman hides cocaine concealed in 36 capsules inside body, held in Mumbai

Doctors retrieved drug ₹3 crore from Venezuelan salesgirl after six-day procedure

mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2019 01:30 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
The Narcotics Control Bureau recovered 510 grams of cocaine from Kenya Lavate’s body.
The Narcotics Control Bureau recovered 510 grams of cocaine from Kenya Lavate’s body. (HT )

Mumbai’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) recovered cocaine worth around ₹3 crore from a 24-year-old Venezuelan salesgirl who was allegedly being used as a mule to traffic drugs from South America. A little more than half a kilo of cocaine was distributed in 36 capsules and concealed in her body. The cocaine was recovered over the course of six days during which she was hospitalised.

According to the NCB, they received reliable information about a large consignment of narcotics being smuggled into India and accordingly reached Mumbai’s international airport on July 12. Kenya Lavate was on a flight from Brazil and landed in the city early in the morning. When no drugs were found in her luggage, the NCB got permission from the magistrate to take Lavate to Sir JJ Hospital for an x-ray. The x-ray confirmed that there were foreign objects in her stomach and in her vagina. Lavate was hospitalised and given medication to retrieve the 35 capsules of cocaine in her stomach. “The capsule she had concealed in her vagina had 220 grams of cocaine while the rest was stashed in 35 capsules which she excreted over a period of six days before she was discharged on July 17, after which we arrested her,” said a NCB officer. A total of 510 grams of cocaine were recovered from her person.

Lavate has been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The officer said drug cartels target people from poor backgrounds, like Lavate, to become mules, usually in exchange for money. Usually, handlers wait for three to four days before contacting the mules or carriers. “We are investigating Lavate’s further links in the city and who was to accept the drugs from her,” said the officer.

Concealment in the body is a favoured method because it’s difficult to detect, but can be risky for the carrier. In 2013, two Tanzanian nationals with cocaine capsules weighing 1kg each in their stomach were arrested. One of them died after a capsule burst in his stomach. In June, the NCB had arrested a 24-year-old Brazilian man who had 75 capsules containing 910 grams cocaine concealed in his body. “There is a training session which is undertaken after which the carriers are sent for the actual job. Lavate claims that it was her first time, but we are investigating,” said the officer.

First Published: Jul 21, 2019 01:18 IST

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