X-Ray Reveals 8-Year-Old Boy Hidden in Woman’s Suitcase at Spanish Border Checkpoint

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Suspecting a drug smuggling case, police brought the suitcase in for an X-ray. That is when they found the boy. (Credit: ATLAS via CNN)

Bundled up tightly in a fetal position, an 8-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast survived several hours locked in a suitcase in a botched smuggling attempt into Spain.

A police spokesman who cannot be identified for security reasons told CNN that the boy — who is now in Spanish custody — was discovered Thursday in El Tarajal, a terrestrial point of entry at Spain’s border with Morocco.

Police are still not sure how long the young boy, identified as Abou, spent tucked into the pink, medium-sized polyester suitcase, pressed against a few personal belongings.

“He was shocked when we opened the suitcase to see so many people looking at him,” the spokesman said. But the boy is in good condition, he said.

This is the first time they have found this type of smuggling, the spokesman said, in which a child was locked into a container. There have been a few attempts by adults to sneak into Spain by hiding in other types of containers, he said.

On Thursday, police officers in El Tarajal became suspicious when a young woman, a Moroccan National, showed signs of nervousness as she attempted to cross the border wheeling the suitcase down the street.

“Our officers asked her if she needed help as the wheels began to give in,” the spokesman said.

Suspecting a drug smuggling case, police brought the suitcase in for an X-ray. That is when they found the boy.

He was immediately taken to a state child custodian and awaits judicial process, the official said.

Two hours after speaking with Abou, agents spotted the boy’s father trying to cross the border into Ceuta and arrested him as well.  Authorities believe he likely paid the woman, who isn’t related to the boy, to smuggle him into Spain.

The father, whose relocation application had been denied, told officials that he “didn’t know that was the method” of smuggling the woman was going to use.

The boy is now under the care of Ceuta social services organization El Área de Menores de la Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta.

Tribune Broadcasting contributed to this story.