Joseph Ramos recently turned 21, and it's a birthday he'll never forget.
"I was in the back of a cop car, my hands were behind my back. I decided to take them off, and I swallowed one-by-one," Ramos said.
In his only TV interview, Ramos explains how and why he swallowed the two stolen necklaces.
Jail officials made the 14-karat discovery after he went through an X-ray scanner. There was a golden clump in his chest.
Ramos says his memory was foggy at first.
"It all came back to me. I was like, 'Ohhhhh yeah,'" he said. "I'm not going to lie; I was very, very drunk. That's the first thing I thought about. If I was sober, I would have never swallowed the necklaces, but I was drunk so I decided to swallow them thinking I might get away with something. But now I'm in here," he said from jail.
The jewelry was such a serious health threat, doctors had to go in and surgically remove them.
He says he was awake for the whole thing.
"They're over there, shoving these tubes down my throat, getting the necklaces out. I'm fully awake, never put me to sleep," Ramos said.
Even the Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri himself couldn't believe it.
"Just when you think you've seen it all. This is a new one," the sheriff said.
Last week, investigators say Ramos burglarized a home in Safety Harbor and stole a car. He was riding around in the car when he was busted, but he says it's all a big misunderstanding.
"I don't burglarize houses. I don't know how to do it," he said.
Ramos says he had no idea the car was stolen when he bought it off the street. He says he paid $5,000 cash for it.
He's already spent nine days in jail, and will likely spend Christmas away from family in Orlando.
Which bring him to tears.
"I have a sister who is in the Army, who wants me to do good, and I'm trying to do good for her, but now I'm in here," he said.
As for the lessons learned behind bars, he says there's are a few.
"Don't buy something from someone you don't know," he said. "And apparently, don't swallow jewelry."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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