We had luggage tags on our bags swapped at airport and ended up spending a MONTH in prison | The Sun
A COUPLE who had their bags exchanged for luggage with drugs inside have finally been released after spending 38 days in a German prison.
Kátyna Baía, 44, and Jeanne Paolini, 40, were arrested in Frankfurt on March 5 on suspicion of carrying 40kg of cocaine in their luggage.
The Brazilian women were removed from the airplane by German police and after being interrogated on suspicion of international drug trafficking, they were taken to a female prison.
The personal trainer and veterinarian were on the way to a 20-day trip to Europe, flying from their hometown Goiânia, in Brazil, to Berlin, with connecting flights in São Paulo and Frankfurt.
An investigation by the Brazilian Federal Police revealed the couple were victims of an international gang that swapped luggage at the São Paulo International Airport.
Security footage revealed the elaborate criminal operation conducted by two third-party airport staff and two women pretending to be passengers themselves.
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CCTV showed the moment two airport staff remove the couple’s already checked-in bags from the carousel and take a picture with their mobile phone.
One of them then removes the original labels from Kátyna and Jeanne’s bags and replaces them with other ones.
Meanwhile, two women arrive at the departures lounge with two suitcases filled with cocaine, and seem to be communicating with their mobile phone.
A member of staff from an unknown airline gives the two women a signal and checks their bags in without asking for any documents. The two women leave the airport shortly after.
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The gang members are then seen getting the two suitcases with drugs and taking them to the same container where Kátyna and Jeanne’s luggage were.
The Federal Police confirmed the criminals found a blind spot behind a pillar, where they swapped the labels and replaced the luggage on the carousel.
Officers found the airline staff with approximately £7,000 in cash, who then confessed she took part in the criminal operation.
Six airport employees have been arrested so far.
On Tuesday (April 11) Kátyna and Jeanne were finally released after staying detained for more than a month.
The request for release was made by the German Prosecutor's office, and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by Chayane Kuss, the couple’s defence lawyer.
She stated that the women have been reunited with Kátyna’s sister, Lorena, and Jeanne’s mother, Valéria, at the Brazilian Consulate in Frankfurt.
“This nightmare is finally over and we can hug them a lot,” Valéria told Brazilian news portal G1.
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