In Part 1 of this blog post, I discussed the recent arrest of a woman who was attempting to smuggle 3 pounds of cocaine (worth $100,000) into the Barcelona airport. Part 2 will attempt to make sense of this mess.
A Failure of Epic Proportions
It blows my mind that someone would go to such great lengths to smuggle drugs through an international airport only to get caught. On the surface, the idea of smuggling drugs inside breast implants seems brilliant. If done properly, it seems like there is no way this method should ever fail.
But then again, this Panamanian woman is in jail due to extremely poor execution of a brilliant idea. This is truly a failure of epic proportions. Let’s revisit this botched smuggling attempt to count the many ways in which it went wrong.
Flimsy Bags to Contain the Cocaine
The picture released after the drug bust shows two extremely large quantities of cocaine contained in what looks like ordinary plastic bags. Why not get silicone shells from an actual breast implant?
I’m sure there is a Columbian plastic surgeon who could be purchased by the cartels. Such a surgeon would easily be able to supply the shells to a saline breast implant, which would be empty since saline implants are filled after being inserted into the breast. That would leave plenty of room for the cocaine.
One additional benefit of using a real implant shell is that the outcome might look like an actual breast. No way these lumpy bags are going to pass for real breast implants.
Traveling Right after the Operation
Who travels right after getting breast augmentation? And more importantly, who travels across the Atlantic Ocean from Columbia right after breast augmentation? I know plastic surgery tourism is a real phenomenon, but there’s no way anyone is traveling to Columbia to have their plastic surgery done. It’s not exactly a destination resort. And more importantly, Columbia is not exactly known for having a high quality health care industry.
Regardless of whether you would choose Columbia as your breast augmentation hot spot, it is doubtful you would get on an international flight while your incisions are still dripping with blood. During this stage of the recovery process, you would most likely be lying on a couch popping Percocets and watching old movies.
By flying so soon after your procedure, you draw attention to the fact that something was just inserted into your breasts. This isn’t very smart when carrying 3 pounds of cocaine in your breasts and traveling from Columbia, a place where airport authorities assume everyone is trying to smuggle drugs across the border.
If she would have waited a couple of weeks, her incisions would have healed, eliminating the suspicious bloody cut on her breasts which ultimately tipped off the police to her deception. I also think it would be less likely that the police could insist on cutting open her breasts if there wasn’t already an open wound on display. Oh yeah, that whole probable cause thing.
Breast Implant Placement
I don’t know for certain, but based on the hack job performed on this woman’s breasts, I’m going to assume that the doctor just shoved a bag of cocaine in there. This undermines the discreet aspect of this smuggling technique. I’m sure a lumpy bag of cocaine will look and feel funny, drawing attention to the contraband.
But if they had used a real breast implant shell (see my comments above) and placed it like you would place a real breast implant, it would be virtually impossible to detect foul play. I would recommend submuscular breast implant placement (under the muscle) since this would probably make it a little more difficult to detect the cocaine on an MRI.
Flying from Columbia
If you are going to smuggle cocaine through an international airport, why would you ever fly out of Bogota? The Bogota airport is considered a “hot flight” because the city is so widely associated with drug trafficking. As a result, all passengers coming from this airport (or most likely anywhere in Columbia) would be scrutinized more heavily than passengers flying out of a different country. It’s like she was holding a huge flag saying “Drugs Smuggled in My Breasts, Please Search Me” in neon letters.
Instead, why not fly out of a more low-profile country? She could easily make it up to Central America and fly out of a place like Belize or Costa Rica. That way, she would be more likely to fly under the radar.
Having a fake passport from the country she flies out of would probably help too. And I’d be shocked if the leaders of Columbian drug cartels were unable to get her a fake passport.
The Poor Back Story
This is by far the most egregious blunder in the entire plan, simply because it is the easiest to get right. If you are going to load your breasts up with 3 pounds of cocaine, you had better come up with a good story about why you are traveling abroad.
For starters, don’t travel alone. Travel with a guy. You can call him your boyfriend. Then when police ask what you are doing on your trip, you can say you are on vacation with your boyfriend. This seems like a plausible reason to visit Barcelona. That would make a great trip for a happy couple.
But don’t just stop here. Make reservations at a well-known hotel. Book reservations at a few of the finer restaurants in town. Maybe even get a travel book and look up the names of a few museums you plan on visiting. And if you are going to Barcelona, make sure you know who Gaudi is and why seeing his buildings is on your itinerary.
If you do this, you will have plenty to tell the police when they question you, and you will most likely be a more convincing tourist. Just plan a day off during your week of sight-seeing to visit the plastic surgeon who will remove the cocaine from your breasts, and don’t mention this part of your trip when talking to the police.
Who’s to Blame?
I can understand why the Panamanian woman carrying the cocaine in her breasts would not think of all these potential problems in the plan. After all, I can’t imagine that there are too many smart people who would sign up for this gig. Smuggling drugs in fake breast implants is certainly a job for an idiot.
But what about the heads of the drug cartels that set up this operation? If you were going to smuggle $100,000 of cocaine into another country, wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to guarantee a return on your investment? I would think the drug lords would take greater care to plan a tighter operation that doesn’t place their drugs, their money, their identity, or their freedom in jeopardy.
Then again, I don’t know much about the cocaine industry in Columbia. Maybe:
- There is so much cocaine down there that they really don’t care if a few pounds are confiscated at the airport from time to time
- These drug lords are just as dumb as the women they hire to transport their cargo, and they just succeed because they are not afraid to shoot and kill their enemies in the Columbian government
- They thought of all of the pitfalls I mentioned above, but for some inexplicable reason got really careless in the execution of the plan
Since I am not a drug smuggler, I will never know the answer to this question. But perhaps I should consider a change in careers. I’m sure drug cartel consultant is a much more lucrative job than plastic surgery blogger. And if I were to have planned this operation, I’m pretty confident this woman would not be rotting in a Spanish jail cell right now.