Two Brazilian women have spent the past month in a German jail accused of trafficking 40 kilograms of cocaine. However, all signs point to this being an inside job.
Brazilian couple arrested over bags with cocaine
Two Brazilian women who have been married for 12 years were planning on taking a 20-day vacation to Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. Instead, they’ve spent over a month in a jail in Frankfurt, Germany, having been accused of international drug trafficking.
On March 4, 2023, the couple was scheduled to fly from Santa Genoveva (GYN) to Sao Paulo (GRU) to Frankfurt (FRA) to Berlin (BER), and they were traveling with two checked bags. When they landed in Frankfurt on March 5, they passed through immigration control and went to the boarding gate for their flight to Berlin.
At the gate, they got approached by German police and handcuffed, as two suitcases tagged in their names were full of cocaine, with the drugs weighing in at a jaw-dropping 40 kilograms.
I’ve seen my fair share of episodes of “Locked Up Abroad,” and I think it’s safe to say that if found guilty, they’ll be spending many years in jail. However, it appears that they are in fact innocent in all of this.
Evidence suggests these women are innocent
Following this arrest, federal police in Brazil performed an investigation, as the circumstances here were suspicious. For one, the couple had planned the trip well in advance (in June of 2022), and they had booked all the hotels for their trip. This is a very unusual pattern for drug mules, who usually book tickets last minute (since most people don’t decide 10 months in advance that they plan on being a mule).
But there’s much more concrete evidence that they’re innocent. On April 4, federal police in Brazil arrested six people who they say were behind this scheme. Specifically, it would appear that while at Sao Paulo Airport, these passengers’ bags were exchanged with two bags full of cocaine.
A Brazilian news program has even released video footage of the baggage department at the airport. Two employees for WFS Orbital, an airport ground handling service company, were seen handling the two bags.
The employees picked up the bags from the baggage belt and took pictures of them with their mobile phones. At this point, the tags on the bags were changed.
Soon after, two unidentified women showed up at the airport with bags that were similar sizes and colors to the two travelers’ bags. They left the new bags at the check-in counter, even though the counter was closed, and then left the airport. The bags were then placed on a baggage built, and retagged, to make it seem like the two women were checking the bags.
The bags were then transported from the domestic part of the airport to the international part of the airport in a way that avoided an x-ray scan. The exchange of bags then happened behind a pillar, so that security cameras couldn’t capture it.
I would assume that there was supposed to be a baggage handler in Frankfurt or Berlin who was supposed to receive these bags, but so far there’s no evidence of that.
The German government has stated that it wants evidence to come directly from the Brazilian government. That evidence has now been shared, so hopefully the two women are released soon.
The original two suitcases checked by the travelers (which only weighed 16 kilograms and 17 kilograms, less than the ones filled with cocaine), haven’t yet been found, and it’s not known why these two women were targeted. I’d assume the decision was made based on the destination, and these travelers were just very unlucky.
Two Brazilian women have been arrested in Germany, after 40 kilograms of cocaine was found in suitcases that were checked in their names. However, it now appears almost certain that the travelers had nothing to do with this.
Rather there was a scheme at Sao Paulo Airport to swap the bags these ladies had checked for bags containing cocaine. Hopefully these women are freed soon. How terrifying to think that you could plan on taking a well-deserved vacation, only to end up in jail for over a month for something you had absolutely no part in.