An 11-year-old stopped in the Caribbean by police could be the world’s youngest drug mule, after authorities discovered she had carried more than 100 capsules of cocaine in her stomach.
The girl was hours away from boarding a flight to Madrid with her father when one of 104 capsules exploded inside her stomach. She was taken to a hospital in the Caribbean city of Cali on Monday morning by her father and another relative, then underwent a life saving operation that removed the capsules inside her stomach.
After dropping his daughter off at the hospital, the girl's father allegedly ran off and police are currently hunting him down.
“Everything is pointing to the fact this youngster was going to be used in a twisted way by adults as a drug mule to transport drugs from Colombia to another country,” Cali police chief Hoover Penilla said. “They had flights reserved to travel from Cali to Bogota…with a final destination of Gran Canaria.”
Jhon Arley Murillo, a spokesperson for the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, said that the institute will temporarily take custody of the girl. Murillo added that they will take steps to offer her protection and remove her from the harmful family environment.
The girl’s mother, who police have since interviewed, has claimed that she and her husband are estranged. However, detectives believe the woman may be lying since they searched the family’s home and found that the two probably still lived together.
A passport in the woman’s name and a plane ticket to Spain were found during a search of the home. Police also learned that the girl’s parents had applied for a visa for her so that she could travel abroad. According to the girl’s school, her parents had said she would be away for one month.
The young girl is still in intensive care at Cali’s Valle del Lili Hospital, though her life is not at risk.
Columbia is known as one of the world’s top exporters of cocaine, as well as the city of Cali, in which the Cali Cartel is based. The drug cartel was once compared to the Russian KGB and called “the most powerful crime syndicate in history” by the American Drug Enforcement Agency.