92-Year-Old Woman In Wheelchair Arrested For Smuggling Cocaine

By: Al Goodman, CNN Madrid Bureau Chief
By: Al Goodman, CNN Madrid Bureau Chief

MADRID, Spain (CNN) - A 92-year-old woman with cocaine strapped to her body flew all the way from Brazil to Spain before police arrested her, in a wheelchair, at Madrid's airport.

They found 4.3 kilos, or nearly 9.5 pounds, of cocaine packets strapped to her legs and torso, and also arrested a 44-year-old female companion, who tried to escape on another plane, a Civil Guard spokeswoman told CNN Tuesday.

The two women, both from Uruguay, were arrested last Friday after arriving in Madrid on a flight from Sao Paolo, Brazil. But officials did not release details about the case until this week, after a judge had arraigned the two on drug trafficking charges. The judge ordered the younger woman to prison but sent the 92-year-old to a senior citizens' home in Madrid.

Due to her advanced age, "it's practically impossible" that she would be tried or face jail time, said the Civil Guard spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified.

Police did not identify the women.

Civil Guards became suspicious when the younger woman repeatedly told the older woman - who had asked for an airport wheelchair in Madrid to traverse the terminal - that if they rushed, they would make their connecting flight to Spain's Canary Islands.

The Civil Guards, who run customs controls at the airport, stopped the woman in the wheelchair.

The younger woman immediately fled, first trying to make the connecting flight, which by then had closed its doors, and then attempting to leave the airport terminal for the street.

But she was stuck in the "satellite," or second building, of Terminal 4, which is connected to the main building and the street by an underground train. Police caught up with her before she left the satellite terminal.

The two would-be smugglers probably expected a cash payment and return flight tickets to Brazil from their drug trafficking contacts, the Civil Guard spokeswoman said.


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