Peru: Airport area hospital receives one drug mule per day

At least one drug mule per day is seen at Callao’s Daniel A. Carrion Hospital.

(LIP-jl) (El Comercio) — Authorities from Peru’s Health Ministry have reported an increase of patients who are admitted into Callao area hospitals for having cocaine-filled capsules in their bodies.

According to health authorities, approximately one drug mule per day is seen at the Daniel A. Carrion Hospital, located near Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport.

In just the first two months of 2007, 57 drug mules have been admitted into Carrion Hospital, compared to 168 for all of 2006, and 132 in 2005.

Officials at the hospital reported that 75% of the patients were men whose ages fluctuated from 19 to as high as 80, and mostly of Peruvian nationality.

Victor Sanchez Acevedo, the hospital’s director, voiced his concern over the strain drug mules are causing on the hospital’s limited resources and space.

According to Sanchez, smugglers are hospitalized for an average of 3 days, taking up valuable hospital bed space and forcing the Peruvian government to pick up the tab for all of their exams and medication. The burden increases significantly if surgery is involved.

According to authorities, swallowing these drug-filled capsules could produce an immediate danger to the lives of the people who carry them as a rupture to the capsule can cause massive drug intoxication. The average amount of capsules a drug mule swallows is between 90-100.