Indian customs officials stopped 29 passengers for trafficking gold in their rectums Sunday at an airport in southern India.
Authorities seized more than 22 pounds of gold from at least 37 passengers aboard two flights flying into Madurai International Airport from Sri Lanka, Fox News reported.
India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the country’s customs and tax organization, noted that most chose to use this “ingenious way of concealment” to sneak the metal into the country. Other passengers decided to stash the gold into strollers and hand luggage.
Authorities discovered the gold nuggets in a “thorough examination” and confiscated the items upon discovery, according to the DRI.
The DRI said it confiscated more than $46,000 worth of gold.
Even though authorities seized a lot of gold, no individual smuggler trafficked enough gold to warrant a criminal conviction. All the smugglers were allowed to go free as a result.
A spokesman for the DRI told the Guardian that Sunday’s gold haul was not the largest — authorities seized nearly 141 pounds of gold smuggled among three full planes worth of passengers in a 2015 operation.
“The uniqueness of this case is that huge numbers of people concealed the gold in their rectums,” the spokesman told the Guardian. “Rectum concealment by this many guys is a first.”
The DRI confiscated more than 660 pounds of trafficked gold in 2017 alone and made dozens of arrests.