PHOENIX — A doctor surgically removed a one-pound package of methamphetamine from a woman’s pelvic area after she allegedly tried to smuggle the drugs into Arizona from Mexico, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman said Friday.
Claudia Ibarra, 31, was taken into custody this week at the Port of San Luis after federal officers suspected the bizarre smuggle attempt. She crossed the border alone and on foot and is a U.S. citizen from the border city of Yuma.
Ibarra was searched at the border and then transported to a nearby medical facility where the doctor found and removed the drug package. She was stopped after exhibiting common signs of potential drug smuggling, said spokeswoman Teresa Small, who declined to elaborate.
“When they were patting her down, they realized there was something down there,” Small said.
The methamphetamine had been wrapped in black tape and a condom and inserted into Ibarra’s body. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
Officials said it is not unusual for narcotics smugglers to hide drugs inside human bodies, either by swallowing the package or through other means. A medical official was tasked with removing the package because exposure to the methamphetamine could have killed Ibarra.
It was not known if she had an attorney or had previously been arrested on drug smuggling charges.