The man reportedly suffered seizures and died mid-flight.
A man flying out of Mexico never made it to his destination after dying mid-flight from a botched drug-smuggling scheme.
The 42-year-old, identified as Udo N., was a man of Japanese origin who began his journey in Bogotá, Colombia. He transferred in Mexico City to a flight destined for Narita International Airport in Japan.
However, he began suffering seizures during the flight and the plane made an emergency landing in Hermosillo, a city in Sonora, Mexico.
“Crew noticed a person suffering convulsions and requested to make an emergency landing in Hermosillo, Sonora,” read a statement from the Sonora attorney general’s office.
Upon landing, paramedics boarded the plane and pronounced the man dead.
The official cause of death was determined to be cerebral edema (swelling in the brain) caused by a drug overdose. The man had ingested 246 plastic bags filled with cocaine, measuring 1 by 2.5 cm each, that were discovered in his stomach and intestines.
As the producer of about 90% of cocaine destined for the United States, it’s no surprise that Udo N. was traveling from Colombia. Drug mules coming from the country are routinely busted for drugs—but that’s not all they are packing.
A 2018 bust at the international airport in the capital city of Bogotá, Colombia, yielded smugglers attempting to bring cash into Colombia from Mexico—a payment from drug traffickers to Colombian gangs for cocaine. The smugglers had ingested the money amounting to big sums.
The Guardian reported, “Authorities said that mules often swallowed up to 120 pellets of cash, with five $100 bills in each latex capsule. A typical ingestion would conceal and move $40,000 a person, though investigators said they previously caught someone with $75,000 in their system.”
An especially heinous case involved a Colombian veterinarian who was caught surgically implanting live puppies with liquid heroin to smuggle the drugs for a South American cartel. In February, Andres Lopez Elorez was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to six years in prison for his crimes dating back to 2004.
“I have made mistakes,” Elorez told the judge, according to the New York Times. “I know I cannot justify my actions.”