Woman arrested at Thessaloniki airport for organ trafficking


A woman was arrested at Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Airport on Friday after customs officials discovered a box containing human cells during an inspection of her luggage after she had flown in from Moscow.

The box was labeled in Russian and wrapped in styrofoam. They said the cells originated from the United States.

“These are sterile human cells, used in keratoplasty, and in particular for the sclera of the eye, so that it can be transplanted,” authorities said.

The passenger, whose nationality has not been made public, claimed she thought the box contained medicines which she was to deliver to an employee of a travel agency she purportedly works for.

Customs officers said the woman did not have the legal certificates that must accompany transplants, as dictated by the National Transplant Organization (EOM). They confiscated the box and its contents.