Swiss police have arrested 20 drug trafficking suspects accused of flying on dozens of trips to the U.S. with Ecstasy tablets sewn inside their cycling shorts.
The suspected smugglers are accused of transporting 1.2 million Ecstasy pills worth an estimated $18 million stitched inside their biking shorts on 61 flights from Switzerland to New York and Miami from 2002 until last year, Zurich police said today.
A 31-year-old Dominican woman, suspected of organizing shipments of the drug popular with ravers, was arrested near Zurich a week after airport police discovered two people carrying 20,000 Ecstasy tablets in the undergarments in April 2005.
The drugs, first smuggled into Switzerland from the Netherlands, had an estimated market value in the United States of $15 per pill, police said. Three suspects were taken into custody in April 2005 and 17 during subsequent investigations.
All were charged with drug trafficking, police said. The suspects, aged 21 to 46, came from Zurich, Basel, Aargau and the Thurgau region, police added.
the reporter on this story: Joseph Heaven
the editor responsible for this story: Malcolm Fried
December 19, 2006