Smuggling Cocaine-Infused Face Cream Is A Very, Very Bad Idea

Photographed by Shirley Yu.
An Ecuadorian woman was arrested earlier this week at an airport in Thailand after authorities discovered six bottles of body lotion laced with cocaine in her luggage. Narcotics officers involved with the case described the method as “a new smuggling tactic to avoid arrest.” And here we were, thinking that applying a dab of moisturizer over foundation to make skin extra dewy was an ingenious beauty hack.

Jenny Pacheco, 56, was found to have roughly 2.3 kg (or 5 lbs) worth of cocaine mixed into the moisturizers, which she traveled with from Lima, Peru, all the way to Bangkok. An impressive distance when you consider just how troublesome it is to slide past the TSA with a clear quart-sized Ziploc bag full of beauty products under 3.4 oz, none of them containing illegal drugs.

“As a smuggler, you’re only limited by your imagination and what you think you can pull off,” Gregory D. Lee, a retired DEA supervisory special agent and expert witness in police procedures, told Yahoo Beauty. He added that while Pacheco’s approach was clever enough, the quantity of lotion was a “dead giveaway.” 2.3 kg is a lot of cocaine — especially when you're infusing it into jars of moisturizer.

But this innovative smuggling technique begs a few questions. What happens to the cocaine once it reaches its final destination? How do they get it out of the face cream? “It can be extracted through chemical means,” Lee said. “Whoever that woman was going to deliver the lotion to, obviously they were set up to do it.”

Alas, Pacheco’s stash won’t be making it to the next step. And if you’ve ever seen the National Geographic Channel masterpiece Locked Up Abroad, then you know that Thailand’s drug penalties are notoriously brutal, with some offenders even being sentenced to death. That makes this one excellent way to ruin your life and waste a lot of moisturizer in the process.

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