ROME: How much jogging can one person do? On holiday? In Rome?
An alert Italian customs officer asking those questions has exposed the latest ingenious ploy of Latin American drugs traffickers: replacing the shock-absorbing gel in running shoes with liquid cocaine.
“Only an expert would have been able to tell the liquid wasn’t the usual gel,” Italy’s financial police said Saturday following the detention of a Brazilian national on charges of smuggling seven kilograms (15 pounds) of the narcotic into Italy.
The arrest followed a random check on passengers arriving at Rome’s main airport from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Officers became suspicious when the man was found to have packed six pairs of sports shoes for what was supposed to be a short break in the Italian capital.
Closer examination of the shoes uncovered a drugs haul which would have had a street value of two million euros ($2.2m), the financial police said.