| CURITIBA, Brazil – This year, the Federal Police (PF) recorded an increase in the number of arrests of drug traffickers at the airport in Iguassu Falls, in the western part of the state. According to the agency, most of those arrested have similar characteristics and most are young, small-time drug dealers from the capital.
To escape scrutiny, they often hide the drugs in places difficult to be detected by the security devices currently in use at the airport—devices designed primarily to detect firearms and other weapons—such as bound to the body under clothing or even ingested into the digestive tract, for example.
Federal enforcement of drug trafficking laws in the state has increased dramatically in recent years as Parana has emerged as a major trafficking route for narcotics entering the country from Argentina, Uruguay and especially Paraguay. The PF has increased supervision of the passenger security checkpoints at the airport. In the boarding area, for example, all bags go through x-ray machines and PF compliment that inspection with hand-inspections of suspicious luggage.
“Soon the PF will have a device known as the BodyScan, which serves primarily to detect cases of people who ingested balloons or capsules of narcotics and are carrying them in their digestive tract,” said police spokesman Gabriel Pucci Filho.
BodyScan imaging machines have been introduced at airports in the United States in recent years to great criticism. Many Americans feel the machines, which produce graphic “nude-like” images violate travelers privacy. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security feel the measures are necessary to prevent hijackings and terrorist attacks similar to 9/11.