Breast implants can be a big self-esteem booster for women who want a Marilyn Monroe-like physique. But once used solely to enhance beauty, self-esteem, and sex appeal, some women are now using them to smuggle cocaine. It’s becoming more common to hide illegal drugs in private areas. Most recently, a Venezuelan woman was busted at Madrid’s Adolfo Suarez Airport for hiding cocaine in her breast implants.
When the 43-year-old woman arrived in Madrid from Bogota, Columbia, drug agents searched her and a few other passengers from her flight. They noticed there was something suspicious about the unidentified Venezuelan woman. Police say she appeared nervous when they asked her some basic questions, so they had agents check her luggage. However, they weren’t able to find anything. When female agents performed a body search, they found "certain irregularities and deformations in both breasts," the NY Daily News reported. The woman then confessed to having cocaine in her breast implants. She was sent to the hospital to get her breast implants removed, and was subsequently detained for the crime.
Two years ago, a Panamanian woman was also discovered with cocaine-filled breasts in Barcelona, Spain. The 33-year-old, identified as Yeraldina, carried 2.9 pounds of cocaine (worth over $130,000) in her breast implants. Because the surgery may have been botched, it was believed that she might have died from exposure to such a large amount of the drug. Luckily, her scheme was discovered.
But how are these women able to get cocaine into their breast implants in the first place? Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York City board-certified plastic surgeon, told the Daily News that women, or the people trying to smuggle the drugs, could be taking the saline water out of the breast implants in order to refill them with cocaine. According to Mayo Clinic, saline implants are made with a silicone outer shell and filled with sterile saline water. They're always empty when they're first inserted under the breast tissue, and filled once in place.
Other women who don't use their breast implants for smuggling have used their beauty. Colombian model Angie Sanclemente Valencia was arrested for allegedly leading a drug trafficking ring that sent models to Argentina and Mexico with briefcases of cocaine. Sanclemente pleaded innocent, but was still sentenced to prison for six years and eight months. According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), women have been involved in drug trafficking since the 1920s, but now more women are working equally with men to traffic drugs. Sadly, the COHA says many of these women are struggling financially and are desperate to earn a living. So, with promises of making thousands of dollars, they risk their lives.