Pubdate: Mon, 23 Feb 2015
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2015 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Stephen Dinan


2014 Saw 176 'Cavity Conceals'

The federal government is looking for doctors to help monitor 
suspected smugglers' bowel movements at John F. Kennedy International 
Airport in New York, in a solicitation that sounds like it could be 
something out of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" program.

In reality it's all a very sanitary process and even includes a 
special high-tech toilet to recover the drugs or other contraband 
from the other waste passing from the suspected smuggler's system.

But the details, described in a new solicitation for doctors to 
assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection, underscore the efforts 
smugglers will go to in trying to get their goods into the country, 
and the lengths the government will go to try to flush them out.

Doctors must be available round-the-clock in case CBP officers 
suspect they have a "swallower," which is what internal drug 
smugglers are known as. The doctors are charged with X-raying or 
otherwise examining suspects' body cavities, and if drugs are found, 
the work order says "the detainee may be held for a monitored bowel 
movement (MBM) to wait the passage of the contraband material."

"During the MBM, the detainee will remain in the medical facility 
under the care and monitoring of the contractor," CBP said.

Airport Medical Offices at JFK currently holds the contract, which 
was last renewed in 2009. The company ignored phone and web messages 
seeking comment. The Department of Homeland Security officer in 
charge of the contract didn't respond to a request for more details, 
but CBP in a statement said the medical program is a key law 
enforcement tool that maintains "the highest levels of integrity, 
dignity and respect" for all involved.

"CBP regularly intercepts individuals who ingest wrapped packets of 
illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, ecstasy, 
marijuana or hashish to transport them," the agency said. "CBP 
officers apply their keen knowledge, expertise and intelligence to 
detect and intercept suspected body cavity concealers at our nation's 
ports of entry."

CBP identified 176 "body cavity concealment incidents" in 2014, which 
was down from 187 the previous year.

On Thursday CBP announced it had nabbed a man in Texas who tried to 
smuggle nearly 3 ounces of heroin hidden in a body cavity into the 
U.S. A drug-sniffing dog alerted officials to the man, who had 
arrived in a taxi.

"History has shown that people will go to extreme lengths to smuggle 
drugs into the country," said Alberto Perez, CBP Port Director in Del Rio.

But Kennedy Airport is the real nexus for swallowers, according to 
the New York Daily News, which reported in 2011 that the busy 
international facility saw more of them than all other U.S. ports of 
entry combined.

The Daily News even profiled the "drug loo," as it's known, and which 
CBP officers were thankful for, because they no longer had to go 
fishing through the contents of bedpans to find the packets of drugs.

If the drug packets rupture inside a smuggler, they can be deadly, 
and the CBP contract proposal requires the medical facility to be 
prepared for problems.

The contract raises other concerns, including the potential for a 
female smuggler to be pregnant. The proposal says women who are 
suspected of having ingested contraband must be given a pregnancy 
test before they can be X-rayed.

And the contract underscores the potential danger of dealing with 
desperate smugglers, urging the facility to "reduce access to wires, 
cables and objects that might be used as a weapon."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom