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June 22, 2016

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2 detained over cocaine-infused wine

A Chinese couple who allegedly attempted to smuggle cocaine dissolved in bottles of wine into the country from Brazil have been placed in detention, Shanghai customs officials said yesterday.

The officials said it was the first time they had intercepted a liquid containing the South American drug.

Thanks to a screening system used to identify the passengers most likely to be carrying contraband, the authority found 32 bottles of wine of various different brands in two of the couple’s suitcases when they arrived at Pudong International Airport last November.

The man, surnamed Liu, 24, and his wife, surnamed Wu, 25, who were working in Sao Paulo, told officials that a man who called himself Lin asked them to take the two suitcases containing wine to China the day before their departure from Sao Paulo. The couple said Lin offered them 900 Brazilian reals (US$264) and US$300 for the “errand.”

The authority said the two were stopped thanks to its screening system, which integrates human and computer intelligence.

The system identifies passengers that might be of interest based on their travel records, and officers then decide whether to conduct a closer examination.

The system has gradually evolved since it was first introduced in 2013, and has been successful at stopping drug smugglers on 35 occasions over the past 12 months, a 52 percent increase over the previous year.

More than 220kg of drugs have been intercepted and 14 suspects detained, according to the authority.


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