11 Feb 2011

Woman caught with 40 drug pellets in stomach

10:02 pm on 11 February 2011

A woman has been caught at Auckland International Airport with an estimated $600,000 worth of methamphetamine in her stomach.

Customs officers detained the South African national a week ago on suspicion that she was a drug-smuggler.

After a scan, the woman was shown to have swallowed 40 pellets of the drug totalling about 570 grams.

Two men travelling on fake passports were also arrested and charged with conspiracy to import the drug, also known as "P".

Shane Panettiere from Customs says the risk of the pellets exploding inside the woman was very high. A New Zealander died in Thailand earlier this year as a result of this method.

There has been a dramatic increase in the swallowing method and since September last year, seven people have been caught carrying drugs that way, he says.