Roentgenographical detection of cocaine smuggling in the alimentary tract

Rofo. 1985 Mar;142(3):295-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1052652.


We report five cases of cocaine smuggling, by hiding multiple drug-filled foreign bodies in the colon, either after oral ingestion or by placing them in the colon per rectum. Several smuggling methods in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and their radiological findings on abdominal plain film are presented. Computed tomography (CT) is found to be a more accurate method in the detection of the drug-filled bags, because of its improved contrast resolution and the absence of projections of overlapping structures on the transversal sections. Subsequently, CT is highly recommended in cases of negative or doubtful findings on conventional abdominal radiographs. In all cases conservative management was used and the drug-filled capsules and condoms passed spontaneously. No complications, such as intestinal obstruction by the bags of cocaine or intoxication by rupture of their wall were observed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Belgium
  • Cocaine*
  • Colon*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / methods*
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Cocaine