In an incident which surprised the doctors involved, one man will be facing drug trafficking charges after surgeons at the North Shore Medical Center at Salem Hospital removed 27 bags of heroin from his stomach, intestines, and even his rectum. The patient, a 51-year-old man, had the six-ounce bags removed through a surgical operation conducted with the police observing.
The police became aware of the bags of heroin after the staff at the hospital contacted them. Miguel Rodriguez, the man in question, apparently came wandering into North Shore Medical complaining that he was ill from some lobster that he had eaten earlier. However, the staff recognized his symptoms as being that of opioid intoxication, and his story was placed in doubt. Instead of treating Rodriguez for food poisoning, they gave him the drug Narcan, a lifesaving drug for opioid overdose, and his body responded favorably.Once recovered from the symptoms and confronted by the doctors, he was left with little choice but to tell the truth. He confessed that he had only just returned from the Dominican Republic, and while there he had swallowed several bags of heroin, or as he said, "something bad," with the plan seeming to have been to smuggle them into the United States. A CT scan was conducted, and the bags of heroin were discovered.
The hospital staff then contacted the police, and detectives were sent to investigate. As the surgeons performed the operation to remove the bags of cocaine and heroin from Rodriguez's body, the authorities -- wearing "sanitation suits" -- were nearby observing. When the nearly 40 minute operation, from 6:12 to 6:50 p.m, was over, 27 bags totalling 163.4 grams with a street value of $16,000 had been removed from the stomach, colon, and rectum of Miguel Rodriguez.
Maine News Online had a quote from Salem police Captain Conrad Prosniewski regarding the incident.
"The bottom line is that this is a person who is bringing the drug into the country and this is the drug that is killing our people. The quantity that he had inside of him came to the weight level that exceeded the trafficking qualifications."At the end of the surgery, the police watched and counted as the bags of heroin were removed from the man's body. They had obtained a search warrant. The warrant granted the police the ability to remove the bags of drugs from the pathology department of the hospital. Rodriguez was brought up on charges of drug trafficking.
It is believed that what led to Rodriguez needing to visit the hospital and subsequently being caught with the drugs is that one of the heroin bags burst in his stomach during his return trip from the Dominican Republic. Salem is currently in the midst of an opioid crisis. There have already been 29 cases of overdoses related to the drugs in Salem for this year, March alone has seen 15 cases, and three of them proved to be fatal.According to Headlines And Global News, a $500,000 bail has been set for Rodriguez even though he is still in his hospital bed. Despite the evidence that the police have gathered against the man, he pleaded not guilty to the charges levied against him at his arraignment Thursday at the hospital.
The epidemic of heroin and other opioid drug addiction has been recognized by the Obama administration as one that is affecting the country as a whole and not just Salem. The plan is to obtain $1.1 billion in funds in order to handle the situation before it gets any worse.
[Photo Courtesy of Sinisa Botas/ Shutterstock]