Police discover €1.4m of cocaine inside wheelchair upholstery

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Police discover €1.4m of cocaine inside wheelchair upholstery

Italian border police have discovered more than 13 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside a motorised wheelchair at an airport near Milan.

The drugs were found stuffed into the wheelchair's leather upholstery by sniffer dogs, authorities said on Friday.

When the cocaine was found, the man using the wheelchair stood up and walked away without assistance.

The suspect -- a Spanish national who had asked for airport assistance to guide the wheelchair -- has been taken into custody.

Police said a specialised canine unit had been deployed at Malpensa airport to check arriving passengers and their luggage on a flight from the Dominican Republic.

The route has previously been used to smuggle drugs into Europe, Italy's financial police said in a statement.

When a dog drew officers’ attention to the traveller, police first checked his luggage, which yielded nothing, then slashed the wheelchair’s upholstery, discovering the cocaine.

Police said the 11 packets of cocaine could have yielded some 27,000 individual doses and had a street sale value of around €1.4 million.