San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Covert toilets could be coming to Costa Rica

Outside the American Community of Police conference on Wednesday, security professionals from the United Kingdom hawked their wares for the hemisphere’s police. Everything was on display at the booths, from security cameras to canine detection training services to tracking technology to… toilets?

A stout stainless steel toilet, complete with treads on the footrest, sat on display with a lighted opening in the back, similar to a vending machine. Meet the Drugloo.

“When people come through customs or they’re trying to smuggle things across borders or into prisons and they swallow them or hide them in, um, other places,” explained John Baker, managing director of Drugloo, “most border agencies tend to use a bucket and a pair of gloves. So we invented [these] chemical toilets.”

After the contraband enters the toilet, Baker said it gets flushed into an agitator, where it’s cleaned, disinfected, and bagged as evidence.

“It’s hygienic for the employees, and for the detainees it’s a more efficient and humane way for them, opposed to sitting on a bucket,” he said.

In addition to the stainless steel portable version on display, Baker listed off their other towering static models, and even a “covert” commode.

“It looks just like a regular toilet like you might find at McDonald’s,” Baker said, explaining how lifting the toilet seat alerts peeping law enforcement that the unsuspecting suspect is using the water closet. While the smuggler thinks he’s flushed his contraband, police are waiting on the other side for the evidence wrapped up in a neat package.

Baker said that Drugloos are already in use across airports and other transportation hubs in Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East, Canada and the United States. But in Latin America, only Peruvian police use them – so there’s no need to think twice the next time you use the loo at a McDonald’s here.

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