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Spanish Customs Officials Foil Attempt To Smuggle Boy In Suitcase

Spain's Civil Guard released this image of a boy, 8, who was the subject of a smuggling attempt.
Guardia Civil
Spain's Civil Guard released this image of a boy, 8, who was the subject of a smuggling attempt.

An 8-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast was found curled up in a suitcase Thursday, foiling an attempt to smuggle him into Spanish territory. His father and a woman who carried the case were later arrested.

From Agence France-Presse:

" 'When they put the suitcase through the scanner, the operator noticed something strange, which seemed to be a person inside the case,' he told AFP.

"'When it was opened they found a minor, in a terrible state.'"

The boy is now in the care of officials in Ceuta, a Spanish exclave on Africa's northern coast that's south of Gibraltar. They're reportedly working to learn more about his family background.

"I just wanted to bring him to the Canary Islands with me," the boy's father, identified by his initials, A.O., said, according to Spanish daily El Pais. The man is a legal resident of the Canary Islands, the newspaper says.

The suitcase holding the boy had been carried by a 19-year-old woman who is from Morocco; El Pais says that both she and the boy's father were charged with violating the rights of foreign citizens, along with putting the child's life at risk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.