Russia surgeon 'stole heroin from drug mule's stomach'

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Media captionFive grams of heroin were found in the clothing of the surgeon, police say

Russian police have arrested a surgeon suspected of stealing heroin he removed from the stomach of a drug courier in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

Officers who checked drug containers removed from the courier believed one was missing and carried out a search.

Five grams were found in the clothing of the surgeon, who was himself found to be in a state of narcotic intoxication, police say.

The suspect told police he would not comment without his lawyer.

The unnamed surgeon was arrested in Bogotol, a town of 21,000, about 3,100km (1,930 miles) east of Moscow.

He has been charged on two counts: with illegally acquiring and possessing a large quantity of drugs, and stealing a large quantity of drugs.

If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to 15 years.

In 2009, Russia announced that it had become the world's biggest consumer of heroin. Cheap supplies of the drug enter the country from Afghanistan by land via the former republics of Central Asia or by air.

Taken off train

Police video shows the hospital where the alleged crime took place and also the suspect himself in custody.

Vladimir Yourchenko, police press secretary for the Krasnoyarsk region, said that the drama had begun when a passenger aboard a train from the city of Krasnoyarsk to Bogotol had become ill.

Police had information that the passenger, a national of one of the former Soviet republics, was carrying several containers of heroin in his stomach.

Removed from the train, the man was taken to a district hospital where an operation was performed to extract the containers.

Police then received information that the surgeon had taken one container for himself, Mr Yourchenko said. He added that the suspect had been investigated for illegal possession of drugs in the past.

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