When most people think about smuggling stuff into other countries, their first thoughts usually include drugs like heroin and cocaine. But one Indian man recently decided to kick it up a notch, smuggling a number of small gold bars into the country by hiding them in his stomach.
Authorities discovered 12 solid gold bars in the stomach of the 63-year-old Indian man after a team of surgeons opened up his stomach expecting to find a bottle cap. Prior to surgery, the man complained to doctors that he’d been vomiting and having trouble with bowel movement. He claimed that he had gotten in an argument with his wife and swallowed a bottle cap out of anger.
But when surgeons opened him up, they found the bars, each weighing 400 grams, or 14 ounces, stacked up in his stomach. “This is the first time I have recovered gold from the stomach of a patient,” said Dr. CS Ramachandran, a senior surgeon at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, according to the BBC. “I remember having taken out a bladder stone weighing one kilogram from a patient. But finding gold in a patient’s stomach was something unbelievable.”
Ramachandran said that the surgery lasted three hours due to the man’s old age and the fact that he was a diabetic. He also said that the man would have suffered severe bleeding and possibly a ruptured intestine, which would result in septicemia, according to the Daily Mail. After discovering the gold, both police and customs authorities seized the gold and questioned the supposed businessman.
Although the gold was small — all 12 pieces could fit in a person’s palm — they represent the lengths that people in the country would go to obtain gold. Each bar was worth an estimated $2,000. As the world’s largest consumer of gold, the country also raised its taxes on gold imports three times in the past year in an effort to curb its demand and make up for economical deficits. These restrictions have led to a surge in smuggling incidents.
For pictures of the surgery and the gold, check here.