Drug Trafficker Surgically Altered Fingerprints to Evade Police

Drug Trafficker Surgically Altered Fingerprints to Evade Police

A wanted drug trafficker surgically altered his fingerprints in a bid to evade capture, according to a new report from The Guardian.

The man, who has not been publicly identified, was on the lam for 15 years before his recent apprehension by Spanish police. His time as a fugitive may have been aided by dramatic alterations to his fingerprints, which he had cut and burned, and then replaced with “micro-implants of skin,” according to a police statement.

The physical alterations were part of a larger effort to disguise his identity that also included a hair transplant and fraudulent identity documents. He had two encrypted phones in his possession at the time of arrest.

The case offers a dramatic, if extreme, illustration of the limits of biometric identification, since even physiological traits like fingerprints can be altered. But it can also be read as another case for multimodality: Police authorities around the world are increasingly interested in obtaining multiple biometrics from criminals and suspects, very often including both fingerprints and face data; and even in cases where one physiological trait is altered, another can be used for identification.

Of course, most criminals aren’t in a position to undergo the multiple surgeries that the drug trafficker in question here endured over the course of a number of years in order to change his fingerprints – especially considering that the man was caught in the end anyway.

Source: The Guardian

February 5, 2019 – by Alex Perala