MOSCOW, Aug 14: A Russian surgeon who took a cut for himself when removing heroin from the stomach of a drug mule in Siberia for the police faces up to 15 years in prison for theft and drug possession. The doctor was high when agents arrested him, according to the ministry of the interior.

The surgeon, who has not been named but who worked in the small city of Bogotol, in the Krasnoyarsk region, removed capsules of heroin from the stomach of a drug smuggler.

Law enforcement agents confiscated the capsules but later found five grams of heroin hidden in the surgeon’s clothing. Police have released video footage of a young man wearing an Adidas jacket, his face blurred, who is purported to be the surgeon. Local news outlets said he is 32 with previous convictions for drug possession.

“At the moment of his arrest, the doctor was in a state of drug intoxication,” the police said.

A criminal case has been opened and the surgeon faces up to 15 years for drug possession and theft.

The smuggler became ill on a train from Krasnoyarsk to Bogotol, according to a police spokesman. The man - a national of one of the former Soviet republics who was already known to police — was taken to a hospital in Bogotol to have the bag of heroin he was transporting removed. The drug mule is currently in a coma and doctors are fighting to save his life.

Russia has the highest rate of intravenous drug use and one of the fastest growing HIV rates in the world: it is no stranger to drug smuggling controversy. In January, the

Federal Drug Control Service arrested a Colombian priest at a Moscow airport, who was attempting to smuggle 13 capsules of cocaine in his stomach.

By arrangement with The Guardian

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