BOGOTA - A Canadian woman who was pretending to be pregnant was caught boarding a flight to Canada carrying two kilograms of cocaine, Colombian police said Wednesday.
The woman was identified as Leah Ritchie, a 28-year-old social worker who entered Colombia on August 6 from Toronto, police said. A female agent with the anti-drug unit at Bogota’s Eldorado airport found the cocaine hidden under a latex pouch the woman was wearing to simulate pregnancy.
According to BBC, the woman caught the attention of the policewoman at Bogota’s International Airport who allegedly asked her how far along she was. She reacted aggressively, which aroused the suspicion of officials who went on to search her.
This year, nearly 150 people were caught with drugs at Bogota’s airport. About a third of them were foreign nationals, according to the Colombian authorities.
The Canadian national had entered Colombia at the beginning of August and was about to board a flight to return to Toronto, when a policewoman asked her how long she had been pregnant.
“[The Canadian] didn’t like the question, which made the official suspicious. Instinctively, she then very delicately touched the lady’s belly, realising it was too hard and extremely cold,” said the deputy director of Colombia’s police anti-narcotics section, Colonel Esteban Arias Melo.
The woman allegedly said she was seven months pregnant.
After performing a body search, the police found two sealed bags stashed inside the latex belly, which contained 2kg of cocaine. Colombian authorities say the Canadian national will be charged with drug trafficking, possession and production and could be sentenced to between five and eight years in prison.
The drugs would have had a street value of around $60,000, Colombian police said. Government officials say 874 foreigners are currently being held in the country’s jails, the majority on drug charges. Colombia produced 309 tons of cocaine in 2012, according to UN estimates, making it one of the world’s top sources of the drug.