Jewel Smuggler Who Swallowed 220 Diamonds Arrested In South Africa
Police in South Africa have reportedly arrested a man who they say swallowed 220 polished diamonds in an attempt to smuggle them out of the country.
According to the Daily Mail, the “diamond mule,” a 25-year-old unnamed man said to be of Lebanese origin, was caught with the precious gems while trying to board a plane from Johannesburg to Dubai.
Officials said a scan of his body revealed the diamonds he had ingested, approximately 220 stones worth more than two million dollars.
“We nabbed him just before he went through the security checkpoint,” the Daily Mail quoted Paul Ramaloko, spokesman of the South Africa elite police unit the Hawks, as saying.
Ramaloko said it was unclear whether the suspect had swallowed the stones before he arrived at the airport or in panic after he spotted police at the boarding gate.
After apprehending the smuggler, officers at the airport gave the man laxatives to flush out the diamonds out of his body.
According to BBC News Africa, authorities believe the man belongs to a diamond smuggling ring.
In March, police arrested another Lebanese national, aged 27, who was attempting to smuggle $1.69 million worth of diamonds out of South Africa in a similar fashion.
Detectives are now investigating whether the pair had been operating as part of the same smuggling syndicate.
Global Post notes that while South Africa was at one time one of the world’s biggest producers of diamonds, a large quantity of the precious stones are now mined in neighboring Zimbabwe and Botswana.