Drug smuggling by ingested cocaine-filled packages: conventional x-ray and ultrasound

Abdom Imaging. 1995 Jul-Aug;20(4):333-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00203366.


Purpose: To evaluate the imaging characteristics and the diagnostic value of both abdominal ultrasound and conventional abdominal x-ray in identifying ingested drug packages in "body packers."

Materials and methods: Twelve individuals were studied prospectively by abdominal ultrasound and by abdominal x-ray to rule out incorporated drug containers.

Results: Both abdominal ultrasound and abdominal x-ray correctly identified the 7 of 12 individuals who had ingested multiple drug packages. In 5 of the 12 individuals, ultrasound as well as abdominal x-ray were correctly unremarkable with regard to abdominal foreign bodies.

Conclusions: Abdominal ultrasound and abdominal x-ray both represent valuable diagnostic tools in the assessment of ingested drug packages. Abdominal x-ray is superior to ultrasound in differentiating ingested drug-filled condoms from "pseudocondoms."

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cocaine*
  • Condoms
  • Crime*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drug Packaging
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Ultrasonography


  • Cocaine