Nearly everyone who hasn’t been buried under a rock over the past ten years has heard at least one story of a criminal drug trafficker trying to smuggle their drugs somewhere either up their bum-bums, in their va-jay-jays or even by swallowing condoms stuffed with coke, (only to have the condom burst in their stomach resulting in them dying the most speed-rushed death a Scarface-wannabe could hope for). Through the pains of addiction and the pains of cramming hundreds of small baggies filled with powder in one’s rear, drug traffickers and addicts have begun trying more and more ridiculous and innovative ways to get their drugs in places that drugs should not be, whether that’s jail, across borders or out of the sight of police.
While all of these crafty criminals’ carefully concocted concealments ultimately resulted in free bars and orange jumpsuits, they should at least be commended for their attempted innovation… sometimes. Some of the cases listed below may cause you to shake your head back and forth while saying, “how, how did they get caught?” whereas others may lead you to uncontrollable laughter over the abject stupidity of the felons that got nailed for their extra “stow-away” bags. Of course the best ways to smuggle drugs are those that have not made it to this list because without those methods of smuggling, there would not be a drug problem in areas that do not openly permit drugs. To those criminals still on the run and keeping our addicts’ pipes full and noses powdered, beware: any of these stories could be yours come this time next year. Until then, enjoy the ride, pray that the condom doesn’t burst, and try not to look too suspicious.
Our first guest on the wall of shame is a gentleman named Antoine Banks. After being arrested for possession of a largely uncontrolled substance by the name of Salvia Divinorum and quite a more controlled substance, liquid codeine, during a traffic stop in Kentucky, Banks thought he could fuel his habits just a bit longer by stowing away some harder drugs when entering Metro Corrections following his arrest. As all criminals are before they’re admitted into prison, Banks was subjected to a clothed pat down when officers felt something out of the ordinary in his boxers. Sure enough there was a tiny bag of cocaine tied into the waistband of Banks’ boxer shorts. Now given the green light, officers had a field day by ordering Banks’ strip search where upon officers found yet another bag of coke tucked between his penis’s foreskin and head.
Whereas originally Banks had faced two possession charges for the “synthetic cannabinoid” and the codeine, after his prodding strip search he added on trafficking of a controlled substance and promoting contraband to his S-list. To coin the phrase, Banks certainly wasn’t using his head when he stepped foot into prison with coke all in and around his downstairs.
In Budapest, Hungary, the National Drug Laboratory of the Institute for Forensic Sciences got quite a shipment of Ecstasy in with one unique little pill that made headlines. Of the 9,001 pills that they had received, 9000 of them were a white color with the imprint of the “Euro” logo on one side. Ecstasy tablets see all types of imprints and come in a variety of colors so this was no big news for the National Drug Lab of Hungary. What took them by surprise, however, was the single pink colored pill that resembled a Viagra pill in every way except color (Viagra is typically blue) and content. The pill was shaped like Viagra, the pill was imprinted correctly on both sides with the “Pfizer” logo on one and the “VGR50” on the other, though the pill was tested through spectroanalysis and it was definitely not Viagra. Fifteen milligrams of amphetamine was traced and reported. Upon further analysis the presence of MDMA was found, though the lab provided reporters no further details than the confirmation of its presence in the pill.
This was the first time that a Viagra look-alike has ever turned up containing amphetamine, (apparently MDMA presence is routine in such look-alike pills). If one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small, we all know which one the Viagra would be – whoever got nailed with these pills has got to be feeling pretty small after getting busted.
Go figure. In New York City, New York, criminals who’ve known for years that candy and heinous crimes go hand in hand put a new spin to the offer of “free candy” from a windowless van.
The Northeast Lab of the DEA received a submission of thirty-one lollipops with “loose wrappers” after a seizure at LaGuardia airport by the DEA NY Field Division. When the wrappers were removed, the lollipops all had a thin candy shell alright, but upon licking to the end of these Tootsie-Pops, they found the wrong sweet, brown interior. Instead of chocolate at the center of these treats, DEA agents found mid-grade heroin when they cracked the candy shells. Among the thirty-one pops some were three quarters of an inch in diameter and some were a full inch. A total of 520.1 grams of heroin was found within the pops and was certified to be roughly sixty-four percent pure heroin. In New York, (again go figure) this was the first time that the lab had ever received heroin filled lollipops but lollipops with cocaine had apparently passed through their office in the past. One thing is for certain if the DEA nailed lollipops with both coke and heroin now – this lollipop idea either ‘blows’ or ‘sucks’.
Wait till the Chinese find out about this
Moving from New York and their sick obsession with candy, drugs and the SVU, we turn now to the Southeast DEA laboratory in Miami, Florida. A submission was brought in by DEA special agents working in the capital of Colombia of a magazine page that was coated in an abnormally thick plastic coating. Now, upon suspicion, (let’s only imagine how they figured it out) the special agents that were handling the magazine page knew that there was cocaine in this supposed “plastic” coating over the page. Upon analysis it was found that the “plastic” cover actually contained 21.5 percent cocaine as a base. This made the entire sheet worth about 3.1 grams of cocaine if it were pure. What doesn’t add up is that this cocaine base was bastardized and rendered virtually unusable by being mixed with levamisole – a plastic coating used for pictures, calendars and all types of laminated paper. It’s also even found in automobile paints.
While this was the first submission of this kind to the Southeast lab, it can be contested that 3.1 grams of coke could be ANYWHERE in ANYTHING coming from Colombia. As a matter of fact, as a gambler, there’d be a pretty high stake to say that if you scraped enough skin off of a priest in Colombia, you’d get more cocaine than found on this sheet. Nonetheless, if the goal was trafficking coke via plastic, the culprit was caught.
Oh DEA, how we hate you for your damned persistence… This time in Dallas, Texas (the South Central Laboratory), the DEA took in eight bricks of tightly compacted white powder that was thought to be cocaine (because DEA agents couldn’t tell for sure, that’s why they always taste it before submitting it… on their tongue… in smal-, er, small-ish amounts…). A Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper seized the packages during a routine traffic stop in Pecos, Texas. There were four half-kilo packages that smacked of cocaine – typical black tape and clear plastic wrap around it were dead giveaways that the bags contained coke. However, the other four bricks were standard kilo size but weighed a TON for just a kilo of coke. Upon removal of the black tape that completely encased the kilo sized packages, folded lead sheeting was found wrapped around the bricks. At a solid 88.6 percent pure cocaine, these packages weighed in at 5.99 kilograms (I wonder where the .01 went… <cough, cough, DEA AGENTS, cough, cough>).
It was assumed that the packages were wrapped in lead to avoid detection by the x-ray machines though the DEA was quick to supply a much better idea for next time stating that “the reasoning behind this concealment technique was unclear” as the bricks were not actually encased or sealed in lead, just wrapped up in sheets of it. The intriguing part is why did they bother to wrap four and leave others unwrapped? They ran out of Lead Foil? Next time they’ll make sure to make some molds for lead encasements to store their kilos in. Maybe then the DEA will have to try harder.
If all of the best recurring themes that are present in Samuel L. Jackson’s big hits were rolled into a giant, real-life conspiracy there would probably be a lot of drugs, gratuitous death, at least one plane and a lot of snakes. Wait a minute; all the best recurring themes in Jackson’s movies were present in this case. Federal authorities found eighty pounds of cocaine inside of the bellies of a shipment of live boa constrictors in 1993. A lot of live boa constrictors… the count was exactly two-hundred twenty-three to be exact: all of the snakes had stuffed condoms inserted rectally and then had their behinds sewn shut by the drug-crazy criminals.
Tom Cash who is the special agent leading the DEA in Florida stated, “That just goes to show how low these people will go,” when referencing the fact that all two-hundred twenty-three snakes died as a result of the trauma. Cash went on to explain that he thought the drug smugglers used snakes because they suspected that hardly any TSA agent would be interested in digging around a cloth bag, inside of a foam box, of four to five foot long snakes, feeling around to see if the snakes felt particularly “full”, let alone know the difference between a stitched snake rump versus a freely open one.
Regardless, federal agents were tipped off that Colombian smugglers would be using “live animals” and when the shipment from the Colombia capital Bogota came in at 2 A.M. through Miami International, inspectors had seen an exceptionally large bulge sticking out of the side of one boa’s body around the stomach. As boas are a federally protected animal, they took the snake in for an x-ray and had found something unidentified, large, and definitely without any business being in a snake’s belly. When US Fish and Wildlife arrived after being called, they extracted two condoms stuffed to capacity with large chunks of cocaine in them weighing eight ounces total. From this point on, the DEA was involved along with the Florida Joint Task Group which is a narcotics investigation group.
Aiming to sting the drug traffickers after pick up, DEA agents observed later that day that a man came to pick up the boxes containing the snakes and then he put them in a delivery van. From there, they were taken to a Dade County apartment complex. The man went inside and left the snakes in the van. Agents waited for further action: they waited into the night and even until the next afternoon but nobody came out of the house. At this point they had to forfeit the sting for the potential to save federally protected animals’ lives. At the point they went to rescue the animals, two-hundred two of the snakes had already died. While eleven were still holding on to some fragments of life, once they reached Miami’s Metrozoo, vets did all they could to save them but the internal damage, heat from being stuck in a foam box, inside of a van for over a day and of course not being able to relieve themselves had claimed every snake including eighty-nine snakes that had not been stuffed with coke. At this point, the criminals are being tracked by customs, the DEA and also the Department of Fish and Wildlife. To quote directly from Snakes on a Plane when Samuel L. Jackson discovers that the snakes are attacking people because of a pheromone sprayed on the lais that were put around the necks of all the Hawaii-bound passengers, “well that’s good news… snakes on crack.”
People have always known pigeons to be dirty creatures of the avian variety that spread disease and filth through cities: who knew they would stoop low enough to act as drug couriers though? Well, the man that trained them to fly to the Colombian prison where drugs would fetch power and respect for associates barred within. Guards had originally spotted the pigeon wearing a mini-backpack of sorts outside of the prison found in Bucaramanga in the northern part of Colombia. When it was found and captured, sure enough, the bag on the pigeon’s back contained 1.6 ounces of pot and .2 ounces of crack. The commander of the Bucaramanga Metropolitan Police, Gen. Jose Angel Mendoza stated that, “this is a new case of criminal ingenuity,” in response to the bad bird.
Reasoning behind the capture of the bird was ultimately because the pack it carried was simply too heavy for it to complete its mission. It would take breaks between flights and stay on the ground for excessive periods of time resting. For that reason, the Colombian police were able to apprehend the feathered drug trafficker. Even more ridiculously, the pigeon trick is not new: mobile phones and SIM cards have found their ways into prisons on the backs of carrier pigeons in the past. No one commented as to whether anyone took revenge on the pigeon by defecating on its head.
This story is scary because it happened less than a year ago. On July 4th, 2010, Ecuadorean police seized a 100 foot, twin-screw submarine powered by diesel fuel at a jungle shipyard. According to Jay Bergman who is the Andean regional director of the DEA, “It is the first fully functional, completely submersible submarine for transoceanic voyages that we have ever found.” See, the thing about crime is that it doesn’t pay – all of the previous models of submersibles that were used in drug smuggling and on an epic level (tons) that were caught and seized have been semi-submersibles which cost under a million dollars to construct. They would have air intakes and exhaust pipes to process the fuel necessary to move the giant beasts and therefore could not fully submerge – for this reason they are usually used for short trips to Central America and Mexico to unload, then eventually the drugs would be smuggled into the States. This 100 foot monster just recently uncovered was of a different breed.
This seaworthy, fully-submersible vessel had a conning tower, an air conditioning system, and a periscope; it had been built of fiberglass in addition to other composites and measured roughly nine feet from the deck to the ceiling inside. To approximate the amount of drugs that could be trafficked in a vessel that size, Ecuadorean police estimated it was designed to transport ten metric tons of drugs plus a crew of maybe six people total. To shed some light on how much 10,000 kilograms really is, most semi-trucks in the United States don’t get that heavy. Now imagine the largest semi-truck you’ve ever seen, made entirely out of cocaine – that’s how much 10,000 kilos (or 10 metric tons) of coke is. US nautical engineers were given the task of disassembling the sub and figuring out exactly what kinds of specs she has: speed, maneuverability, chances of implosion at varying depths and so forth.
It’s assumed that the Revolutionary Armed Forced of Columbia (FARC) is responsible for the submarine but it’s not exactly as though they’ve gotten a drug trafficker to come out and say so much. Colombia has seen a significant decrease in seized drug-running submersibles over the year leading up to this seizure: in 2009 there were twenty-two caught off the shores of Colombia – 2010 came and this submersible was the only reported throughout the year. Just a few days ago another similar true submersible was found in Timbiqui, Colombia which is in the south-west. This newest addition to the fleet could carry eight tons of cargo and four operators. What scares officials the most is that fully submersible and seaworthy crafts now total two that have been caught in less than a year. It’s obvious that the drug cartels are stepping it up a notch and bringing their “A-game” these days to the world of high seas drug smuggling. Considering it has been said that only one out of every ten or so semi-submersibles were getting caught and seized when they were in operation, this new whale of a problem is a major smack in the face to agencies like the DEA, the Colombian police and other internation narco-traffic interceptors. The hunt for Red October has concluded – it is officially the beginning of the hunt for White December.
Considering the construction of the border fence between Mexico and the United States, Mexican pot smugglers have begun using a time-tested technique to get large quantities of their buds onto US soil without the hassle of climbing over the fence. A remote video surveillance system monitored by the National Guard noted that in the area of Naco, Mexico (a small border town), a vigilante group of Mexicans pulled up in a flatbed with forty-five pounds of reefer, an SUV and a nine foot trebuchet. All of the pot-flinging fanatics booked off when the Mexican authorities got close but they left their goodies which were all seized. It was reported that the Mexican authorities wasted no time in testing the innovative transnational crime machine. At current rate there are five-hundred sixty National Guard troops that are patrolling the border between Mexico and the States in efforts to aid Border Control in the apprehension of drug traffickers. Naco is immediately close to Bisbee, AZ and only eighty miles from Tucson. A long running joke about potheads is their incessant need to build ridiculous things: bongs out of vases, pipes out of apples: it was only a matter of time before they moved onto harder things… what’s next? A Trojan Horse?
The US’s current Commander in Chief has a wife who has big plans on tackling obesity. If she only knew the real reason people get fat, maybe she’d have to rework her strategy because fat isn’t just a result of loving food – it’s also a popular favorite smuggling technique. There have been several reported cases of criminals hiding stolen goods in their fat or criminals tucking drugs away in their rolls before entering prison. In Hernando County, Florida, Thomas Althoff had been booked for driving on a suspended license. Once in prison, only a matter of hours after admittance, Althoff was seen by a deputy “attempting to snort a crush(ed) yellow substance that was on a piece of cardboard.” It’s surprising how quickly fat people can work when properly motivated. Unfortunately for Tom, his eagerness cost him an extra charge of possessing contraband within a jail.
At first, Althoff tried lying to the authorities saying that he found the pills in his cell. They didn’t buy it and eventually he cracked explaining that he hid the Xanax pills, “underneath the skin flaps of the bottom section of his stomach,” as taken directly from the incident report. If this was where the fat smuggling stopped, maybe it could be called a sick innovation of an individual who does not account for the larger people of the nation in general. He is not the only one to think this fat-flap thing through, though.
In Texas, George Veras was an inmate that guards are sure to remember – a) because he was 500 pounds and b) he probably cost some of the friskers either their jobs or a very harsh talking to by their superiors. This mammoth man wedged an unloaded 9mm pistol between his fat rolls and made it into two different prisons and three pat downs before arriving to his final destination with the gun. Originally Veras had been convicted of selling counterfeit CD’s from his SUV’s trunk. In jail, Veras turned himself in during a quick shower break when he showed police the firearm. County and city law enforcement spokesmen released the painfully obvious fact that inmates aren’t required to go through a metal detector before entering prison. Ultimately, the hidden gun got Veras a second third degree felony in addition to the sale of unlabeled recordings and increased his maximum sentence from ten to twenty years. Veras learned one thing: nothing makes friends faster in prison than showing off your “guns” in the shower… Now you may think that’s it for these fatty failed smugglers, but it’s not.
A 28 and 37 year old pair of obese women in Oklahoma thought they could run a good racquet by shoplifting some clothing articles. Ailene Brown and Shmeco Thomas are now facing felony charges for shoplifting roughly $2,600 worth of store wares from a TJ Maxx. Police reported that loss prevention officers at the TJ Maxx store informed them of the pair who had been stuffing articles of clothing between their fattest, most disgusting parts of their bodies. Now this may not be as impressive if they were lifting very, very expensive small items. No. These morbidly obese thieves had enough extra skin and flab to take four pairs of boots, three pairs of jeans, a wallet (ok, so there wasn’t much room after the boots) and gloves. Brown had a small knife in her purse when authorities confronter her which she stated she would use to tear the security tags off of the clothing within the store. Boots? BOOTS? ‘Nuff said, but, these broads must’ve been HUGE.