A British tourist travelling on an interstate coach in Brazil has been arrested, accused of drug trafficking after 2.1 kilos of cocaine were allegedly found hidden in a suitcase with a false bottom.
The 38-year old man, whose name has not been released, was a passenger on a bus travelling from the city of Porto Velho in north Brazil to Cascavel in the south when it was pulled over on Tuesday, October 16, for a surprise inspection by federal highway cops (PRF).
Video footage shows the moment officers cut away the lining of the compartments in the small black suitcase. Using a penknife to prise open the bottom of both sides, they peel back the material to reveal a concealed layer of drugs wrapped in black plastic.
According to officers, the Brit, whose face has not been revealed, said he was on a sightseeing trip, touring Brazil by road.
But agents claimed the would-be holidaymaker, who had apparently already travelled some 14 hours covering 600 miles, appeared nervous when they boarded the bus and was evasive when questioned about his motives for not going by air.
He was apparently also unclear about what cities he had visited during his journey.
Detectives said the tourist's 'vague answers' and anxiety raised their suspicions and prompted them to do a thorough check of his luggage.
The defendant's bags were pulled out of the vehicle's cargo compartment and ripped apart.
'At the time we suspected the real reason for this man's journey was drug trafficking,' revealed a PRF spokesperson.
'We followed a hunch and took the cases apart because even when all his belongings had been removed, the bags were still heavy.
'What we found leads us to believe the British citizen was not in the country for a holiday.'
The coach was stopped for the snap inspection on the BR-174 motorway in Pontes e Lacreda in Mata Grosso state. Two suitcases reportedly belonging to the tourist were found in the hold. One of them allegedly had double secret compartments.
Investigators claimed the suspect confessed he was transporting the drugs, which has a street value of over £100,000, to the capital Brasilia, the next major city stop on the bus' itinerary.
The destination of just under 1,000 miles would have taken some 19 hours.
Officers said the Briton has been sent to the Integrated Centre for Security and Citizenship (CISC), a police detention centre where he will be held until his case goes to trial.
In recent times, PRF has stepped up random inspections of passengers and their belongings on long distance coach journeys due to increasing levels of cross border criminal activity with neighbouring countries.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.