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Teen Dies After Bag of Cocaine Ruptured, Police Do Not Heed His Plea for Help

on Tuesday, 03 April 2012. Posted in Cocaine

A teen tells police and customs officials that he swallowed bags of cocaine.  According to, police officers did not believe his claims and failed to send him to the hospital.  19-year-old Reece Staples died in 2009, after smuggling cocaine from Costa Rica.  

Staples went to Costa Rica with his girlfriend, and swallowed 19 bags of cocaine sometime between May 31 and June 1.  The couple missed their flight home, and they returned to England on June 5.  Staples was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damages to vehicles after his return to the UK.  

He told the officers that he had swallowed the cocaine numerous times, even telling them he was going to die.  He begged them to check airline records to prove he had been to Costa Rica.  Officers dismissed his statement because he had already lied repeatedly.  He told officers he had just been out for a jog, and he also threatened to stab one of the officers before they realized he did not have a knife.  

After one of the bags ruptured, Reece Staples died with 10 times the amount of cocaine in his system that would have killed a non-user.  His family argues that if they had taken him to the hospital, he would have had a fighting chance for survival.  

Recent inquest into the police determined that once the bag ruptured, his death was inevitable.  The officers received a formal warning after the incident, but criminal charges were not pursued.  They decided that there was not enough evidence to charge the officers with neglect leading to Staples’ death, and the teen died from “misadventure,” as he may not have known the dangers of smuggling drugs.  

A spokesperson for Notts Police said, “The force extends its sympathy to Reece’s family and friends for their sad loss.  This case is a stark reminder of the risks faced by those who are lured into the world of drug smuggling by the promise of easy money.”

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