Accused ATM-skimmer swallows USB drive in custody, doctors remove from his gut

Smoking Gun reports that a NYC man accused of participating in an ATM-skimming ring was raided by feds, and in an unusual attempt to destroy evidence, grabbed a flash drive and swallowed it whole while in the custody of Secret Service agents:
kingston.jpg[I]n the view of investigators, [Florin] Necula "grabbed Subject Flash Drive 2, which had been on his person at the time of his arrest, and swallowed," Agent Joseph Borger noted in the below February 25 search warrant affidavit. When Necula was unable to pass the item after about four days, doctors--concerned that the drive was not compatible with the suspect's GI tract--concluded he "would be injured if they allowed the flash drive to remain inside of him," reported Borger. Necula eventually agreed to allow doctors at New York Downtown Hospital to remove the item, according to a source familiar with the incident.

A Kingston executive said it was unclear if stomach acid could damage a flash drive. "As you might imagine, we have no actual experience with someone swallowing a USB," Mike Sager wrote in an e-mail to TSG.

Mr. Necula is currently being held without bail at a jail in Queens, New York. Here are the court documents.



  1. Idiot. As anyone will tell you, the human GI tract is more like the old RS232 standard with poor pass through…

  2. It’s been a while since I had to dissolve a semiconductor chip package, and normally you’d take it out of the consumer package first, but we would usually use a HCl concentration of about 20-25%.

    It appears that gastic acid is only about 0.5% HCl so my guess is that it wouldn’t damage the package but IANAC – the safety issue is likely more to do with it getting stuck in his intestinal track and causing a blockage but IANAD.

  3. “In return for swallowing the storage device, Necula was charged with obstruction of justice . . .”

    Obstruction of justice and obstruction of bowel–it’s a weird world, this.

  4. Ed Norton made this look so easy when he did it in The Incredible Hulk. Methinks that’s where this yahoo got the idea.

    1. Ed Norton made this look so easy when he did it in The Incredible Hulk.

      I guess that’s why they showed Bruce Banner buying a bottle of ipecac afterward instead of waiting a couple of days to facilitate a “HULK POOP!” scene.

  5. The worst part of it is, they added a charge of “Obstruction of Justice.”

    Wah wah wahhhhhhhh!

  6. Of course USB isn’t compatable! get a mini usb cable, and suck on the end. Windows goes crazy trying to install you.

  7. This points out the need for a flash drive that will self destruct on swallowing.

    Sure there are drives with encryption, but they can hold you under “contempt of court” if you don’t fork over your password. They can do nothing if you swallow and destroy the evidence…

    There’s got to be a market for such a thing… of course it can’t be toxic…

  8. A USB 2.0 drive with a USB 1.0 stomach? You’re bound to experience a slow rate of transfer. What an amateur.

  9. Ew. You can imagine the joy the police (?) must’ve gone through to check his poop for the drive.

  10. The suspect’s name is “Florin Necula”. That alone’s got to count for something during sentencing. I’d use it if it wasn’t already taken.

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