The Inside Dope: Avianca Drug Mules

Doctors treating survivors of Avianca Flight 52 found a few surprises inside their patients. One turned out to have 29 cocaine-filled packets, each 1 1/4- in. long, in his intestines. The other had swallowed at least two dozen 2- in.-long bags containing cocaine.

The practice, hardly new, can be fatal if a container ruptures. The autopsy on a passenger from Venezuela who died en route to Kennedy Airport in 1970 revealed 120 packets of cocaine in his intestines. He apparently made the mistake of using a permeable natural-skin condom, rather than a latex one, to hold the drug, which seeped into...

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