Every year, billions of dollars in illegal narcotics circle the globe, driven by the demand of millions of users. Police and border authorities must be on constant alert for anything that just doesn’t look right. Something as small as a wrinkled label could be evidence of tampering with a legitimate product shipment.
Officers cannot catch every shipment, and traffickers are always trying to find better ways to slip illegal drugs past police. Traffickers have developed a variety of inventive ways to obscure their cargo’s. Here are some innovative ways smugglers have come up with to get their product past police.
One of the favorite things smugglers love to use to conceal their product is food items. They count on the smell of the food items to mask the scent of drugs from trained dogs. In August 2016, US border agents uncovered more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana hidden among a shipment of limes coming into the country from Mexico.
While food shipments of fake carrots and real doughnuts in addition to sausages and coffee have been used in attempts to smuggle drugs, food isn’t the only item used for concealment. Both cocaine and heroin are smuggled in the human body. Small, extremely pure amounts are placed in condoms, then swallowed by a human “mule”. The mule crosses the border where the drugs pass through their system and are recovered within 24 hours. But this method can result in death to the mule because the bags can rupture and the person overdoses on the drugs.
Drug Cartels are using technology to smuggle larger and larger quantities of Cocaine across the border. Catapults, drones, submarines and speed boats have all been used successfully to move drugs into the united states. Here are some of the clever ways traffickers have devised:
Submarines: From crude semi-submersibles to fully submersible subs, conceived by engineers. The cost, while high, is nothing compared to the profits. An investment of maybe 200,000 dollars can bring a return of 200 million per load.
Drones: A 26-pound bundle of marijuana, apparently broke free of a drone, and crashed through a home in Nogales.
Catapults: Simply throw drugs over the border. They load the drugs whoom! Over the border fence, then somebody picks it up on the other side.
Vehicles: Inspectors have found a variety of secret compartments in automobiles, built in cartel workshops with great hiding places. Gas tanks, dashboards, tires, doors and fenders have all been found to contain drugs.
Statues: Border Protection officials found a package labled “Mexican stone crafts.” X-ray inspection showed “interior anomalies” in the statue. Inside agents found over 53 pounds of methamphetamine.
Electronics: CBP agents stopped a 16-year-old attempting to cross into the US when a drug dog hit on an Xbox the boy was carrying. An inspection revealed 3 pounds of meth worth about $10,000.
Sneakers: Border agents in El Paso noticed a rather heavy pair of sneakers and suspected a smuggling attempt. An X-ray revealed an anomaly in the soles, agents probed them, uncovering a white powder that tested positive for cocaine — 1.32 pounds in total.