Even though the man tried, there was no possible way he was walking away from this one. A drug-sniffing dog recently led police to nearly 30 pounds of cocaine that was stuffed into the leather upholstery of a motorized wheelchair at a Milan airport. Once the dog found the cocaine, the user of the chair immediately stood up and tried walking away, but was arrested by police, according to authorities.
In a press release from police, the specialized canine unit was being deployed at Malpensa airport to check arriving passengers and their luggage from a flight from the Dominican Republic. This same route was previously used by drug couriers, which prompted police to monitor passengers on this flight, the Financial Guard police said in the statement.
During the deployment at the Malpensa airport, a dog drew officers’ attention to a specific traveler. At first police checked the passenger’s luggage, but found nothing. Police officers then slashed the wheelchair’s upholstery, which is when they found the cocaine, police said.
According to the police statement, the passenger was of Spanish nationality and arrived seated in an electric wheelchair while being pushed by an innocent airport staff member after he declared he was unable to walk. However, once the cocaine was found, the wheelchair user got up, walked without any assistance and was taken into custody.
The passenger was then brought to a local jail, where judicial authorities upheld his detention pending an investigation of the case, according to the police statement.
As far as the wheelchair goes, police said they found 11 packets of cocaine stuffed into the wheelchair. The cocaine weighed a total of 13.35 kilograms (almost 30 pounds) and could have yielded about 27,000 individual doses of the drug. The total cocaine had a street value of about 1.4 million euros, or almost $1.6 million.
According to the police statement, this operation at the Malpensa airport is at the forefront of combating all forms of illicit trafficking, which includes drug trafficking. This is a busy travel time also, as there is a significant increase in the movement of passengers returning from summer holidays, but police were able to catch one of those drug traffickers during this bust.