A flood of drugs ready to crash into the piazzas of Italy’s capital was intercepted at Fiumicino airport by the Guardia di Finanza, Rome’s law enforcement agency responsible for dealing with financial crime and smuggling.
Together with the staff of the Customs Agency, they seized over 52 kilograms of drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and arrested 18 people. In order to evade the network of security controls in the airport, "couriers" used the most imaginative gimmicks to hide the drugs they were trying to introduce into Italy as part of the operation renamed ‘Rebus’.
A Dominican citizen, arriving from Spain, had hidden more than 3 kilos of pure cocaine in bottles containing cosmetics apparently intended, according to him, for hair care. The owner of a beauty salon of Pakistani origin, declared himself a high fashion hairdresser, and had hidden 6 kilos of heroin in his luggage. In order to pass security undetected, an Italian from Sao Paulo, Brazil, had though it a good idea to modify the packaging that contained a hydro-cleaner, and put about 3 kilos of cocaine inside; another accomplice had created a dual-bottom in his checked luggage to hide more than 10 kilos of heroin.
There were also 6 "body packers" identified by Fiumicino’s security and Customs Agency, including a Nigerian from Uganda who, taken to the "G.B. Grassi" hospital in Ostia and subjected to radiographic examination, was found to have swallowed 49 eggs containing more than one kilogram of heroin, one of which was extracted after a delicate surgery.
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The quantity of drugs seized, considering their degree of purity, would have made it possible to distribute more than one million doses, earning criminal organizations a revenue of around 18 million euros. The operation is part of the broader mechanism to combat illicit trafficking developed by the Guardia di Finanza of Rome in the airports and ports of access to the capital.