On Sunday, 29 people hiding gold in their rectums were discovered by Indian customs authorities at a southern airport in India.
More than 22 pounds of the metal were found on at least 37 passengers aboard the two flights flying into Madurai international airport in Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, authorities reported.
Though not all were hiding the gold on their person – some stashed the nuggets in their hand luggage or children’s strollers – the “ingenious way of concealment,” as India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) calls it, was how most passengers tried to sneak the precious metal into the country.
The rectum gold was discovered upon “thorough examination,” the DRI said. Once the nuggets were found, they were confiscated by authorities. In total, the DRI confiscated over $46,000 in gold.
The haul was large, but no individual smuggler was caught carrying enough gold to meet the criminal threshold and were allowed to go free.
Gold is the country’s second largest import after crude oil. However, gold can fetch high customs fees, which makes smuggling seem desirable to some.
A spokesman for the DRI said Sunday’s haul was far from the largest – a 2015 operation netted almost 64kg (141lbs) of gold smuggled by three entire planeloads of passengers, The Guardian reports.
“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.”
In 2017 alone, the DRI has recovered over 660lbs of smuggled gold and made dozens of arrests.