updated 10/20/2004 10:52:06 AM ET 2004-10-20T14:52:06

Before boarding a plane in Madrid, a Colombian smuggler ate a pricey meal that landed him in trouble upon his arrival in Bogota.

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Customs officials in the Colombian capital noticed the man, whose name was not released, appeared to be in distress after arriving at Bogota's El Dorado International Airport.

"He looked nervous — sweating, and all that, and so we X-rayed him," Customs Police Lt. Sandra Gutierrez said Tuesday.

Inside his stomach were 40 latex-wrapped packets containing a total of $197,000 in large denomination bills, Gutierrez said.

Smugglers often transport drugs by inserting them into condoms and swallowing them. On a rare occasion, they even bring back drug profits into Colombia the same way.

It is against the law in Colombia for anyone to bring in or take out of the country more than $10,000 in any currency. Gutierrez said the suspect was arrested Sunday.

Colombia is by far the world's biggest producer of cocaine, which nets traffickers huge profits, most of it in hard cash. Many try to repatriate the profits back to Colombia, and must try to circumvent currency controls.

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