A 27-year-old woman is facing charges after being found with 46 cocaine-filled baggies hidden inside a Winnie-the-Pooh soft toy on the street in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In a statement obtained by RealPress, police said officers became suspicious when they noticed the suspect repeatedly reaching for the toy and apparently removing small packages from inside on Feb. 23.
As police approached her, she fled, according to unnamed eyewitnesses.
When police caught up with her, they reportedly found that the soft toy contained baggies of a cocaine-base paste known locally as “paco.”
Paco, otherwise known as “10p cocaine,” is a toxic and highly addictive but cheap drug that has swept through poor neighborhoods in Argentina’s capital, according to local media. Paco is a mixture of raw cocaine base cut with chemicals and such things as glue, crushed glass and rat poison.
Just 10 miles away from the wealthy areas of Buenos Aires, lies Ciudad Oculta — the Hidden City, where drug addiction is rampant.
“This is a city within a city, a district of Buenos Aires with 16,000 inhabitants. Those living in Ciudad Oculta live in the most severe poverty with no hope of recovery. The area has been hit with an overwhelming plague of addiction to a highly toxic form of cocaine called paco. Paco may be made in different ways, mainly by mixing raw coca paste with kerosene or another solvent, and then smoking it,” a report by Narconom states. “Paco is so toxic and so addictive that those who become addicted destroy everything around them.”
A report by the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council states “According to official Argentine government figures, DEA reporting, and open-source information, traffickers import significant amounts of cocaine into Argentina from Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. Cocaine use has risen sharply. Based on the United Nations Office of Drug Control’s estimates, Argentina is home to 25 percent of the cocaine users in South and Central America (with approximately 740,000 users), second only to Brazil.
“Cocaine remains by far the leading drug for which Argentines seek help at treatment centers. The use of cocaine base is a growing problem among the economically disadvantaged.”
Further, the report states, “Cocaine trafficking is the most challenging drug threat faced by Argentine authorities. Large seizures of cocaine in Europe link back to Argentina, and authorities intermittently discover individual carriers of small quantities from Argentina to Europe. There is evidence of sustained use by traffickers of light aircraft to bring drugs into the country across borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. ”
(Edited by Judith Isacoff and Gaurab Dasgupta)