104 drug capsules found in stomach of girl, 11, who is Colombia's youngest drug mule: Police

BOGOTA (AFP) - The police say they have caught Colombia's youngest drug mule after an 11-year-old girl underwent surgery to have more than 100 capsules removed from her stomach.

The unnamed child is in hospital under guard in Cali, western Colombia, after the failed attempt to smuggle the drugs - hidden in the capsules - to Europe. "She is out of surgery after 104 capsules were removed, which at the moment are being tested to determine what illegal drug it was," Cali police commander Hoover Penilla said Tuesday.

The girl was being used as a mule to move 500g to 600g of drugs to Europe, said the policeman, calling her the youngest mule Colombian police have caught. "All signs suggest that... she was being used in this twisted way by adults," he added.

The girl's parents are separated. Her mother says that the girl was with her father for a weekend and came back to her mother's home feeling queasy at night, and when she still felt unwell in the morning was taken to the hospital, Mr Penilla said.

The authorities were hunting for the father, he added.

Colombia is one of the world's top exporters of cocaine, along with Peru, United Nations data show.