Document Type : Case reports


University of Health Sciences, Department of Emergency Medicine, Haseki Research and Training Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey


Introduction: We present a case report of a healthy man who ingested a large number of well-manufactured cocaine packages to smuggle them across international borders.
Case Presentation: A 36-year-old man ingested cocaine packages worth approximately US $900,000 to transport it from Dubai to Madrid. He was arrested by police at Istanbul Ataturk Airport for suspected body packing of drugs. On arrival to the emergency department of our tertiary-care university hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, he confessed that he had attempted to smuggle 76 packages of cocaine in his gastrointestinal tract. The patient complained of nausea, but did not have abdominal pain. The physical examination was unremarkable. Radiological screening showed many small packages in the abdomen. There were no signs of intestinal obstruction. In this case, repeat computed tomography of the abdomen confirmed complete evacuation. The patient was discharged into police custody six hours later, after passing the number of packets that he had reported to have swallowed.
Conclusions: Abdominal radiography and computed tomography are useful tools for in the evaluation of suspected body packers. Improved packaging material used by smugglers and a more conservative treatment approach have reduced the mortality and morbidity.