A 42-year old Japanese man who died aboard an airplane shortly after its departure from Mexico City had 246 packets of cocaine in his stomach, according to Mexico’s authorities.
Identified only as Udo N., the passenger had flown into the Mexican capital from Bogota, Colombia, and was en route to Narita International Airport in Tokyo when he suffered a cardiac arrest due to a cocaine overdose, according to a statement by the attorney general’s office for the northern Mexican state of Sonora.
The statement noted:
“The crew noticed a person suffering seizures and requested to make an emergency landing in Hermosillo, Sonora.”
However, by the time the Aeromexico flight made its emergency landing so paramedics could board the plane and tend to the man, he had already died.
⭕️ Autopsia revela que fueron 246 envoltorios de narcóticos en el cuerpo del pasajero de origen japonés, lo que le ocasionó la muere en el aeropuerto de #Hermosillo.
— #FGJESonora (@fgjesonora) May 26, 2019
An autopsy found that Udo N.’s death was the result of cerebral edema caused by an overdose. A shocking 246 small plastic packets of cocaine measuring 1 to 2.5 centimeters each were found lying throughout his stomach and intestines.
The swallowing of small packets of drugs is among the most common methods in which smugglers move contraband from one country to another.
In September, 2016, a 48-year-old man from Australia attempted to smuggle 2.4 pounds of cocaine hydrochloride in his stomach before being caught at Sydney Airport. The man, who resided in Thailand, had passed his baggage examination before confessing to police that he had ingested the baggies of cocaine.
According to the Global Drug Survey 2018, cocaine is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world and fetches huge prices in countries such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East, where prices can range from anywhere between USD $200 and upwards of $500 per gram.
However, in Latin American countries including Colombia, where most cocaine is produced, the cost of the drug can be as low as $5 to $10 per gram.
Policy analysts credit the drug war for ensuring that relatively cheap-to-produce narcotics fetch a pretty penny on the streets, incentivizing such would-be drug mules as Udo N. to risk their lives in pursuit of illicit drug profits.
In an op-ed published last March in The New York Times, Institute for Policy Studies fellow and Drug Policy Project director Sanho Tree argued:
“Without the drug war, substances like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and meth are minimally processed agricultural and chemical commodities that cost pennies per dose to manufacture. But lawmakers have invented a modern alchemy called drug prohibition, which transforms relatively worthless products into priceless commodities for which people are willing to kill or die.”
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