British man arrested ‘trying to smuggle cocaine out of Colombian airport’

·2-min read
Stock image of a plane in the sunset  (PA Wire)
Stock image of a plane in the sunset (PA Wire)

A British man has been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine out of a Colombian airport strapped to his body.

Police held him after he reportedly threw a packet containing the drug into an airport toilet after spotting uniformed officers at a security checkpoint.

He was stopped and sniffer dogs used to identify the content.

Local reports have identified him as a British national and say he was carrying a kilo of the class A drug.

The arrest took place in Simon Bolivar International Airport, the airport serving Santa Marta city in Colombia which is the capital of Magdalena Department.

He has reportedly been sent to prison on remand pending an ongoing investigation after appearing before a judge in a closed court hearing.

A police spokesman said: “A foreign man has been captured at the international airport of the city of Santa Marta.

“He had intended to travel with a kilo of cocaine stripped to his body.

“The incident happened after uniformed officers were alerted by airport staff about a person who was acting suspiciously.

“The officers immediately deployed their activities of supervision and control and the result of these was the discovery of a package with one kilo of cocaine inside it.

“This person was arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs.”

The Peru Two, Michaella McCollum from Dungannon, Northern Ireland, and Melissa Reid from Lenzie, Scotland, were arrested on 6 August 2013 on suspicion of drug smuggling at Jorge Chávez International Airport, Lima, Peru, after their luggage was found to contain 11 kilos of cocaine.

They initially claimed they had been coerced by an armed gang but subsequently pleaded guilty.

On 17 December 2013, the pair were sentenced to six years and eight months’ imprisonment. In early 2016, both women sought to return to the United Kingdom.

McCollum applied to be freed on parole and was released on 31 March 2016, with the prospect of having to remain in Peru for up to six years. In April 2016 the Peruvian authorities agreed to expel Reid from the country.

She was released from prison on 21 June that year and immediately returned to Britain, arriving at Glasgow airport the following day. McCollum returned to Europe two months later, arriving at Dublin airport in Ireland on 13 August 2016.

She later wrote a book about her experiences titled ‘You’ll Never See Daylight Again.’

It was not immediately clear on Friday where the British man arrested in Colombia had been intending to fly to.

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