Heroin is becoming a huge problem in the U.S., and it's showing up in some truly bizarre places.
It’s a common smuggling tactic, but it never fails to shock and frighten medical professionals who deal with the fallout. According to a report from the Boston Herald, a 51-year-old man was arrested after surgeons removed 27 bags of heroin from the stomach of Miguel Rodriguez at the North Shore Medical Center Salem Hospital this week.
Salem police reported that Rodriguez said he was feeling sick after eating a lobster meal, but doctors could recognize the telltale signs of opioid intoxication. The man was given Narcan, an anti-overdose medication, to which he responded and showed signs of an improved state.
When he awoke, Rodriguez revealed to medical staff at the hospital that he had returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic. On his trip, he revealed, he swallowed as many as 27 bags of heroin with the intent to smuggle them back into the U.S.
According to Salem Police Captain Conrad Prosniewski, “The bottom line is that this is a person who is bringing the drug into the country and this is the drug that is killing our people. The quantity that he had inside of him came to the weight level that exceeded the trafficking qualifications.”
Police were contacted after Rodriguez revealed the hidden cargo to nurses at the hospital. Two Salem police officers were present in “sanitation suits” as a surgeon removed 163.4 grams of heroin from Rodriguez’s stomach. The surgery lasted from 6:12 to 6:50 pm on Tuesday night.
The drugs carried a street value of roughly $16,000. They were removed from Rodriguez’s stomach, colon, and rectum during the surgery. Police obtained a search warrant and took the drugs as evidence from the hospitals department of pathology.
Rodriguez was held on $500,000 bail at an arraignment held in his hospital room, according to the Essex District Attorney’s Office.