SANTIAGO – Three foreigners were arrested at the Santiago airport for attempting to smuggle more than 27,000 doses of ecstasy into Chile, the PDI law enforcement agency said on Tuesday.
“We are talking about a gross weight of 10 kilos and 350 grams (22 lbs and 12 ounces) of ecstasy, which is equivalent to more than 27,000 tablets of the same (drug), which has a street value of 410 million pesos (about $628,000),” precinct chief Alexis Cornejo, head of the PDI’s drug enforcement unit at the airport, told reporters.
One of the suspects is a US citizen who was arrested after arriving on a flight from London and – after a routine check of luggage by the National Customs Service – was found to have suitcases with false bottoms.
While inspecting the suspect’s luggage, customs officers found more than 27,000 doses of methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), a synthetic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
The man was then arrested for drug possession, the PDI officer said.
The American arrived in Chile on a tourist visa and was supposed to hand over the drugs to two other foreigners – a Spaniard and a Swiss national – who were already in the country as tourists, Cornejo said.
“We were able to determine that the foreigner who owns these suitcases had to deliver the ecstasy tablets to other foreigners who were already in our country,” the PDI officer said.
The drug enforcement officer said an investigation was opened with the prosecutor’s office to locate the other two smugglers and detain them as part of the operation.
“They carried out the arrests of three foreigners, one of US nationality, one of Spanish nationality and one of Swiss nationality. All males, adults, with no police record, who arrived as tourists in our country,” Cornejo said.
The PDI precinct chief said the drug seizure was the biggest carried out by the drug enforcement unit in 2019.
Last October, in a similar operation, authorities seized more than 30,000 ecstasy tablets that arrived at the Santiago airport in a box shipped from the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
The operation resulted in the largest seizure of synthetic drugs ever in Chile and led to the arrests of a Chilean national and a citizen of the Dominican Republic.
Ecstasy, also known as molly, is a synthetic mood-altering drug that was initially popular on the club scene but whose use has now spread.
Users feel increased energy, pleasure and the distortion of time and their senses, among other effects.