bAn Argentine judge has warned of the possible emergence a new drug trafficking route from Buenos Aires to Doha, the capital of the Middle Eastern state of Qatar.
Judge Alejandro Catania is currently investigating six cases where suspects attempted to smuggle cocaine from Ezeiza International Airport near Buenos Aires to Doha, all of which occurred in the first two weeks of September.
"Ezeiza-Qatar is a new and unusual route for drug trafficking,” a source close to the judge told Buenos Aires newspaper La Nacion. The source claimed that on average one case of attempted drug smuggling was discovered every two days on the route.
The traffickers hired "mules" who would transport the drugs in their stomachs. The detainees include Europeans, South Africans and Nigerians. In the six cases investigated by Catania and his team, the suspects attempted to smuggle between half a kilo and 1.5 kg of cocaine each.
Concern has also been raised over the method the mules use to transport the drugs; the potentially hazardous ingestion of liquid cocaine. "We suspect that they attempted to travel to Qatar with liquid cocaine because it is more difficult to detect in the scanner," said one investigator.
Cocaine is believed to sell for between $80,000 to $90,000 per kilo in Qatar, providing a potentially lucrative business for traffickers.