Woman Arrested Smuggling Cannabis Internationally Thought She Had Handbags in Her Suitcase

A woman arrested in Dublin, Ireland for cannabis smuggling allegedly told the authorities she did not break any laws intentionally as she thought she was merely transporting a suitcase full of handbags.

According to a report by the Irish Examiner, Yejieda Johnson, a 26-year-old London woman, was arrested at Dublin Airport over the weekend with 37 kilograms of cannabis and charged with unlawful importation and possession of drugs/having them for sale or supply. 

Irish authorities, known as the “Garda Síochána” estimated the street value of the cannabis to be around €740,000 or just under $800k USD (though anyone with access to a calculator or 4th grade math skills can figure out the bulk price on all that is probably closer to $80k even in Europe).

According to the Examiner, Garda Tom McLoughlin appeared in court to advocate against bail for Johnson. McLoughlin alleged that Johnson had been “caught in the act” of a “very deliberate attempt to conceal 37 kg of cannabis.” McLoughlin stated during cross-examination that Johnson insisted she had been carrying handbags and “never touched” any cannabis. 

McLoughlin went on to claim that Johnson was a “clear and immediate flight risk,” due to her lack of an Irish home address or family connections in the area. Johnson allegedly departed from John F. Kennedy airport in New York City and was supposed to get a connecting flight from Dublin to her home in London on Saturday.

The Examiner Report went on to indicate that Johnson maintained her innocence to the court, pleading for bail. Johnson told the court she had lived in London all her life and currently lived with family members. She told the court she was a mother of one and had previously worked in a hotel spa and coffee shop though she was unemployed at the time of the hearing. She swore to the court she would return to Ireland and prove her innocence. 

“I have no reason not to come back, I’m innocent,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know what was in those cases. I will not run off or anything like that. I’m innocent, I’m not a criminal.”

According to another report in Sunday World, defense barrister Karl Monahan argued for bail, saying that Johnson could wait in Irish prison for up to two years before her actual trial began. He also argued the street value and exact nature of the drugs had yet to be officially established, which could explain the wildly high figure mentioned above (I did the math and even dimed out at $10 a gram it’s only $367k).

Oddly enough, another woman flying from Amsterdam to Dublin was also arrested at Dublin Airport the same day with a suitcase containing 10 kilograms of ketamine. Authorities did not indicate that there was any reason to believe the incidents were related, but they did indicate the ketamine had a street value of €600,000 which actually might be kind of low if you sold it by the gram, but I digress.

The following quote was given to the Irish Mirror by a Garda spokesperson:

“Gardaí arrested two women on Saturday 2nd September 2023 as part of two separate seizures made by Revenue officers at Dublin Airport. The seizures comprised 37kgs of herbal cannabis, worth an estimated €740,000, and approximately 10kgs of suspected ketamine worth €600,000. Two women in their 20s were arrested by Gardaí and later detained. They have since been charged with regards to these separate seizures, and appeared before the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin this morning, Monday, 4th September 2023.”

A spokesperson for Revenue also told the Irish Mirror “The illicit drugs were discovered when Revenue officers stopped and searched the baggage of passengers who had disembarked flights from New York and Amsterdam.”

Yejieda Johnson was ultimately granted bail for €1,000 plus an additional €10,000 surety. She would also be required to leave her London address, phone number and other such assurances that she would return to Ireland for trial. She was remanded back into Irish custody until she appears again in court on September 11.

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From the Archives: The Banana Boat Connection (1978)

By Andy Rosenblatt

John West Thatcher is not your average, run-of-the-mill, depraved, weird, long-haired, hippie drug smuggler. For starters, Thatcher doesn’t drink, curse or smoke. Not even cigarettes. He’s a God-fearing, born-again Christian who eats lunch at his unpretentious desk, wets his hair and combs it straight back, works six days a week and goes to church on the seventh.

He’s also a Kiwanis Club member, Davidson College trustee, retired lieutenant colonel and chairman of the Miami chapter of Youth for Christ. With a cover like that, who would ever suspect that Thatcher is the number one cocaine importer in Florida, maybe in the nation—a distinction he earned without really trying. Or spending a day in jail.

John Thatcher’s business is bananas. Literally. He imports the yellow fruit from Colombia to Miami, 150 million oblong tropical delights each year. He also imports—inadvertently—a lot of cocaine, something Thatcher, a deacon of the Presbyterian Church, finds hard to explain. The nose candy comes in with the rest of Thatcher’s cargo on the three big banana boats he owns. Like Thatcher’s bananas, the coke comes in bunches. Sometimes 50 pounds, sometimes 150 pounds at a time.

What the railroad did for the American West, the banana boat is doing for Colombian cocaine. The connection is easy and efficient. In the last three years, well over a ton of coke has moved through it. Over 750 pounds has been wasted by Customs narcs who watch all banana boats that dock in Tampa or Miami. The top three seizures on the DEA all-time hit parade took place on banana boats. Together, the seizures account for one out of every eight pounds of coke the feds have put their hands on, an incredible $190-million payload of snow. For every pound that’s wasted, it’s certain that three, four or maybe five pounds end up in someone’s nose.

The banana boat offers the big-time coker some significant advantages. Scheduling is one of them. At least two banana boats leave Colombia for Florida every week. Their schedules are as regular as the airlines’, and there’s less chance of losing your baggage.

The banana boats travel the fastest water route possible; they’re nonstop and refrigerated to boot. Unlike their airborne competition banana boats require no overhead, since the coker, in essence, is hitching a ride. There’s no maintenance or licenses to worry about. Not even gas.

Another big advantage is the banana boat’s size. The 300-foot-long ships may look like huge hulks of scrap metal and twisted steel to the untrained eye, but they offer cokers up to 90,000 cubic feet of storage space and a million and one nooks and crannies to hide a stash.

The only limit is the coker’s imagination, which is to say no limit at all. Coke has been found everywhere on Thatcher’s ships. In the pipes, the walls, the electrical paneling; in oil containers and soap boxes. Also in the crew’s lockers, the bilge, abandoned generators, rope lockers, the engine room, the galley and in tin cans. If a suitable compartment cannot be found, it can usually be constructed. Cokers have put in false pipes, false walls and false floors.

A stash of 157 pounds was found in the banana boat’s bilge behind 6,000 boxes of bananas and a layer of decking. Another 42 pounds was inadvertently discovered by a fastidious female narc who marveled about one boat’s galley crew and how they neatly wrapped their garbage. The “garbage” she stumbled past was worth $10 million on the street.

Some of the best places to put small amounts of coke are on Thatcher’s crew. Each banana boat carries more mules than a box of borax soap. The mules pack coke in the heels of their shoes, their underwear, their crotches and sometimes their girdles. The mules are recruited in Turbo, Colombia, where the banana boats dock. The selection process is not an arduous one. Any sailor who understands that there are rewards for poor vision and penalties for sharp eyes can qualify. Mules coming into Miami can expect $1,000 or more for every kilo that is safely delivered.

Luis Eduardo Arias never collected his mule’s fee. He never safely delivered his cocaine. Arias once tried to move 18 ounces of coke off the banana boat Cubahama by stuffing it deep inside his stained jockey shorts. But it wasn’t the telltale bulge of Arias’s crotch that gave the Colombian sailor away. It was the empty quart bottle of Pepsi he never returned.

Two Customs narcs routinely trailed Arias as he left the banana boat, crossed the Miami River and walked to Little Havana, Miami’s Cuban, coke-snorting enclave. They didn’t notice the enormity of the sailor’s groin. At least initially. They did notice the soda bottle and became suspicious when Arias entered a convenience store but didn’t return the bottle for a deposit.

“The Colombians are creatures of habit just like the rest of us,” one of the arresting narcs later said. “None of them would pass up a chance to deposit a bottle. Not one of the big ones that pay a dime.”

Joaquin Fernandez also got burned. Not by Customs; by a competing mule. On a humid and uncomfortable August night in Tampa, Fernandez walked the deck of the banana boat EA, fought with the mosquitoes and waited for his contact. It wasn’t long before a boyish-looking American appeared. “Puta,” the American said in the middle of his conversation, “is Spanish for whore.”

That was Fernandez’s signal. The Colombian moved back into his quarters with great purpose. He then ran into the engine room and started removing the 117 bolts that kept the hatch plate on the water tank and everyone from his stash. Fernandez worked fast, but the last few bolts were stuck. The American who had boarded the boat offered a hand. As Fernandez moved away to make room, he turned and pissed in his pants. Four other men were standing behind him. They all carried guns. The men were Customs agents, tipped off by another sailor suspected of carrying his own load.

Arias and Fernandez ended their American vacation by being hauled before a federal judge and given a lecture and a fine they couldn’t pay before being deported to Turbo, a fishing village turned boom town on the Colombian coast from whence they came.

Virtually nothing happens in Turbo—a town of 30,000 inhabitants, small bars and rutted streets—that doesn’t involve bananas or cocaine. A one-wharf town, 22 miles from the end of the closest paved road, Turbo sits on the edge of the Colombian jungle, where the rich soil produces millions of Cavendish bananas and the surrounding hills produce communist guerrillas.

Bananas provide most of the jobs in Turbo. Cocaine provides most of the wealth. In the best of times, bananas retail for 25 cents a pound. Cocaine, at any time, sells for more than ten times the freemarket price of gold. Turbo’s snowfall has given Colombian cokers the money necessary to buy the fastest planes, the biggest haciendas and the prettiest women. It has given successful mules the chance to purchase one of Colombia’s most sought-after status symbols—a house with a concrete floor.

In Turbo, the wise peasant drinks his aguardiente, a clear liquid made from the essences of anisette and kerosene, with his eyes turned toward the ground. That is a sure way to stay alive in Colombia’s Dodge City. Only one Turbo official ever had visions of becoming Wyatt Earp, and he is dead. He was the captain of the port of Turbo, and three years ago he tried to stop the cokers. The captain was shot dead in the town square at noon. His assassins were never apprehended. There were no witnesses. The men of Turbo continue to drink with their heads lowered.

One of Thatcher’s banana-boat captains calls Turbo “the end of the world.” It is a good place for a gringo to get mugged while trying to freelance cocaine.

But getting coke aboard a banana boat is no problem for Colombia’s cocaine cartel. It takes 30 hours, 100 Colombian stevedores and Thatcher’s 20-man crew to load one boat with bananas. It takes only a modest tip paid to the right Colombian customs inspector to get a stash aboard.

“Anyone with a raft or a canoe,” admits Thatcher, “has access to our ships.” One DEA agent who has been to Turbo and gives the cokers there considerable credit believes they could load a submarine.

Thatcher, the Colombians and our own narcs have tried everything to peel the Banana Boat Connection. There was one effort to leave only one door on the ship open, but that proved inefficient. There was also an attempt to restrict the crews’ shore leave and forbid them a chance to see their women friends. That nearly provoked a mutiny.

The Colombians have beefed up their customs detail in Turbo, but duty there is considered as attractive as Vietnam. Most Colombians just sit tight in Turbo and wait for their tour to expire.

The narcs who cover the Miami waterfront are more enthusiastic. There’s something about this cat-and-mouse game through an oily, grimy, hot banana boat hull that warms the cockles of a narc’s heart. The whole thing is reminiscent of Mad magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy” and, what the hell, it’s taxpayer financed.

“We study them and they study us,” explained one narc. “We know their modus operandi and they know ours. Most of the mules aren’t dumb. They send scouts out to the ship’s bridge with binoculars. Sometimes we’re eyeball to eyeball. The whole thing is fun.”

The narcs don’t like to lose at this game, but the odds are against them by virtue of their numbers. It takes six narcs at least half a day to thoroughly search a banana boat. That’s more men than Customs can regularly afford. Customs has to settle for surveillance of crew members and spot checks.

John Thatcher also takes the Banana Boat Connection to heart. He’s done everything he could to destroy it. For years, Thatcher tried to strike at the cokers with the vengeance of Frankenstein trying to slay his monster. There were times that Thatcher couldn’t sleep at night, so he tried tongue-lashing the crew. Behind his back, in Spanish, they laughed, so Thatcher began to fire them. He fired anyone suspected of being a mule, from sailors to their captains. The turnover rate on Thatcher’s ship soared to over 100 percent a year.

In one of his more desperate moments, Thatcher spent several thousand dollars employing sleuth Ivan Nachman to go to Colombia and break up the smuggling ring. Nachman is a former Miami constable who was raiding lockers at Miami High, searching for heroin, when he wasn’t testing bulletproof vests in his office with a Smith & Wesson .38. Nachman’s search for heroin produced four ounces of grass. His search for a perfect bulletproof vest produced a few holes in the walls of his office.

Nachman left Thatcher’s headquarters for Colombia armed with his sunglasses, his cover as a photojournalist and a sense of bravado developed in the years when copping a few joints from a hippie was considered a big bust. Nachman returned with a portfolio of glossy pictures of the Colombian countryside, an equally flashy bill and no significant new information. The Banana Boat Connection continued undisturbed.

Along the Miami River, John West Thatcher is sometimes called the “man who smuggles bananas and imports cocaine.” The tag used to make Thatcher angry. Now, in an unguarded moment, he can talk about cocaine and laugh.

Forty-six pounds of coke was recently seized near Thatcher’s ship Oro Verde, which in Spanish means “green gold.” Thatcher now thinks he may rename the ship Oro Blanco, or “white gold.”

High Times Magazine, September 1978

Read the full issue here.

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Surf’s Up! Uruguayan Authorities Find Cocaine Smuggled Inside Surfboards

Law enforcement officials in Uruguay last week said they busted an international drug ring that had a gnarly way of smuggling its contraband: inside surfboards. 

The BBC reports that Uruguayan police have arrested three Italians with the “help from counter-narcotics police in Spain, Portugal and Italy.” 

“Sniffer dogs had alerted officers in Uruguay to six surfboards containing a total of 50kg (110lb) of cocaine,” according to the outlet. “Police allowed one board to be dispatched in order to track down those receiving it.”

More from the BBC:

“The dogs alerted their handlers to the suspicious package on 23 May. Officers said the boards were uncharacteristically heavy and when they passed them through a scanner, they spotted hidden packages inside. A photo supplied by Uruguay’s interior ministry shows white powder spilling from one of the boards after it had been cut open. Two Italian nationals were arrested by police in Portugal as they went to pick up the cocaine-filled surfboard which police had allowed through. A third Italian citizen, who police say dispatched the drugs from Uruguay to Europe, was detained in Italy.”

A report earlier this year from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found that cocaine production has surged to record highs.

The report said that while drug markets were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, “the most recent data suggests this slump has had little impact on longer-term trends.”

Courtesy Uruguayan Interior Ministry

“The global supply of cocaine is at record levels. Almost 2,000 tons was produced in 2020, continuing a dramatic uptick in manufacture that began in 2014, when the total was less than half of today’s levels,” according to the UN report.

The report said that the cocaine “surge is partly a result of an expansion in coca bush cultivation, which doubled between 2013 and 2017, hit a peak in 2018, and rose sharply again in 2021.”

“But it is also due to improvements in the process of conversion from coca bush to cocaine hydrochloride. In parallel, there has been a continuing growth in demand, with most regions showing steadily rising numbers of users over the past decade. Although these increases can be partly explained by population growth, there is also a rising prevalence of cocaine use. Interceptions by law enforcement have also been on the rise, at a higher speed than production, meaning that interdiction has contained the growth of the global amount of cocaine available for consumption,” according to the report.

The BBC reported that drug traffickers “are increasingly using Uruguay, which borders Brazil and Argentina, as a transit country to ship drugs from drug-producing parts of South America to Europe.”

Courtesy Uruguayan Interior Ministry

Earlier this year, authorities in New Zealand seized more than $300 million worth of cocaine afloat in the Pacific Ocean, calling it a “major financial blow” to traffickers.

According to New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, it was “one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities in this country.”

“There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product,” Coster said. “While this disrupts the syndicate’s operations, we remain vigilant given the lengths we know these groups will go to circumvent coming to law enforcement’s attention.”

New Zealand Customs Service Acting Comptroller Bill Perry said the bust was “a huge illustration of what lengths organi[z]ed crime will go to with their global drug trafficking operations and shows that we are not exempt from major organi[z]ed criminal drug smuggling efforts in this part of the world.”

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Irish Authorities Seize Over $3 Million Worth of Weed at Dublin Port

Law enforcement officials in Ireland on Sunday seized hundreds of pounds in “herbal cannabis” at a Dublin port, leading to the arrest of “a man in his 40s.” 

According to a press release from the Irish Tax and Customs, revenue officers in the country “seized approximately 142kgs of herbal cannabis with an estimated value of €2.84 million at Dublin Port.” (That breaks down to about 313 pounds and $3.06 million).

“The illicit drugs were discovered when Revenue officers stopped and searched a vehicle which had arrived from France. A man in his 40s was arrested by An Garda Síochána [the national police service of Ireland] and is currently detained under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 at a Garda Station in Dublin,” the customs and tax office said, noting that investigations remain “ongoing.” 

The release said that the seizure was “part of Revenue’s ongoing joint investigations targeting organised crime groups and the importation, sale and supply of illegal drugs,” and the agency urged any “businesses, or members of the public” to come forward if they “have any information regarding drug smuggling.” 

An Garda Síochána orchestrated a similar bust on Friday in south Dublin. As part of an intelligence operation, officers “seized approximately 16kgs of herbal cannabis with an estimated value of €316,000,” which was “made as a result of a joint operation involving Revenue’s Customs Service, the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and the Terenure District Drugs Unit.”

“A woman in her 30s was arrested by An Garda Síochána and is currently detained under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 at a Garda Station in South Dublin. Investigations are ongoing,” the tax and customs office said in a press release.

And on Thursday, revenue officers “seized approximately 54kgs of herbal cannabis with an estimated value of €1,080,000 in Dublin.”

‘“The seizure was made as a result of a joint operation conducted by Revenue’s Customs Service, the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and the DMR North Central Divisional Drug Unit,” the press release said.

Recreational cannabis is illegal in Ireland, as per An Garda Síochána’s official website: “It is an offence to cultivate, import, export, produce, supply and possess cannabis except in accordance with a Ministerial Licence. Policy to date has not permitted the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes and no licences have been issued for this activity.”

The website notes that the Irish government “has no plans to legalise cannabis.” 

There are reform-minded Irish lawmakers who would like to end the prohibition, however. Last year, a bill was introduced in Irish parliament that sought to legalize cannabis for “adults of at least 18 years of age to possess up to 7 grams of cannabis or 2.5 grams of cannabis resin (hashish),” according to Forbes.

The bill did not “include the sale of cannabis products or the cultivation of cannabis plants for personal use,” according to Forbes, which means that “cannabis users will likely continue to purchase cannabis from the illegal market.”

If the bill were to pass and become law, it would change the so-called Misuse of Drug Act, the 1977 law that enshrined the prohibition on cannabis in Ireland.

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How Does Drug Smuggling Work?

Drug smuggling. It is a global phenomenon that has plagued societies for decades, yet many of us don’t actually know what it is or how it works. To put it simply, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that involves the transportation, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs. Smugglers use various methods to move illegal substances across borders, including hiding them in vehicles, shipping containers, and even the human body.

The complexity of drug smuggling operations makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to apprehend the culprits and curb the flow of illegal drugs. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at how drug smuggling works.

What is Drug Trafficking? 

Drug trafficking refers to the illegal transportation, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs. This can include a wide range of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and synthetic drugs like fentanyl. Drug trafficking often involves organized crime networks, who engage in the production, distribution, and sale of drugs, often across international borders.

Regardless of the morality behind it, it is certainly a lucrative business, with estimates suggesting that the global drug trade is worth billions of dollars each year. It is believed to be a 32 billion dollar industry. However, the consequences of drug trafficking can be devastating, fueling violence, corruption, and addiction, and contributing to health problems and social dislocation.

As such, drug trafficking is a serious global problem that requires ongoing efforts to combat. Drug smuggling, essentially the same concept, looks into the specifics of how drug traffickers get their substances across. We’re going to be looking at their methods and how it works. 

The History

First let’s look into the history of this phenomenon. Whilst some believe drug trafficking is a recent activity – created by Mafioso-like groups – the truth is that it has been a global problem for centuries. The history of drug trafficking dates back to ancient times, with evidence of opium cultivation and consumption dating back to the Neolithic period in the Mediterranean region.

Over time, the trade of drugs has become increasingly sophisticated, with new drugs and methods of smuggling emerging regularly. Opium has been one of the most commonly trafficked drugs throughout history. In ancient times, opium was used for medicinal purposes and was even considered a cure-all for various ailments. However, as the demand for opium grew, it became a valuable commodity that was traded across borders. The opium trade reached its peak during the 19th century. YAMI 2 writes:

“Drug trafficking was not invented by a mafia but by the European colonial powers in the 19th century. While they were spreading opium throughout Asia, the pharmaceutical industry discovered miraculous products: morphine, cocaine, heroin. Addiction becomes a worldwide scourge.”

The 20th century then saw the emergence of new drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Cocaine, derived from the coca plant, was first synthesized in the late 19th century and quickly became a popular drug in the United States. Heroin, on the other hand, was first synthesized from morphine in the late 19th century and was used as a painkiller during World War II. It became a popular recreational drug in the 1960s and 1970s, leading to a surge in trafficking and addiction.

The emergence of new technologies and globalization has also changed the drug trafficking landscape. The internet has made it easier for people to access drugs and has allowed for the creation of new synthetic drugs. The rise of globalization has also led to an increase in drug trafficking, as drugs can be transported more easily across borders. The consequences of drug trafficking are significant.

The drug trade fuels violence and corruption, undermines economic development, and contributes to health problems and social dislocation. Governments have attempted to combat drug trafficking through a variety of means, including law enforcement, education, and treatment programs. However, the persistence of drug trafficking highlights the challenges of addressing a global problem that is deeply ingrained in society.

The Steps of Drug Smuggling

Whilst everyone is aware of drug trafficking, not everyone understands how it works and what the methods actually are. Drug smuggling is a complex and sophisticated operation that involves the illegal transportation of drugs across national borders. The process of drug smuggling typically involves several steps, each of which requires careful planning and execution. We’re going to take a look at these. Don’t try this at home!

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Step 1: Production

The first step in drug smuggling is the production of drugs. You gotta make the stuff first, right? This can involve the cultivation of plants, such as coca leaves, opium poppies, or cannabis, or the synthesis of chemicals to create synthetic drugs like methamphetamine or MDMA. The production of drugs typically occurs in countries where drug laws are less stringent or where drug production is not adequately regulated. For example, cocaine is primarily produced in countries like Colombia and Peru, while Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium. Once the product is made, the next step is to consider how it’s going to be taken to its next location. 

Step 2: Transportation

The second step in drug smuggling is transportation. The transportation of substances typically occurs – as you can imagine – through several different routes. These include: air, sea, and land. Air transportation is the most common method for transporting drugs across international borders. Drugs can be smuggled in cargo holds, or they can be transported on commercial or private aircraft. Sea transportation is another common method for transporting drugs, with drugs hidden in containers or smuggled in fishing boats or other small vessels. Finally, land transportation involves the use of vehicles or human couriers to transport drugs across borders. This can sometimes be the most long, arduous and dangerous.

Step 3: Concealment

The third step in drug smuggling is concealment. This is probably the most disturbing part of the whole process. To avoid detection by law enforcement authorities, drug smugglers typically conceal the drugs in various ways. For example, drugs may be hidden in shipments of legitimate goods, such as fruit or electronics, or concealed in false compartments in vehicles. However, drugs can also be hidden in the bodies of human beings – these individuals are usually known as ‘drug mules’. They are one of many victims in the whole drug smuggling business, usually blackmailed or forced into it. Alternatively, someone may become a drug mule due to their desperate economic situation. The UNODC writes:

The victims are made to swallow balloons containing illicit drugs and are then transported across borders.  Once they have reached their destination, these balloons are retrieved from the victim’s body. The balloons are made with multilayered condoms and are often force fed to the victim. The victim’s mouth can also be sprayed with anesthesia, enabling them to swallow up to 120 balloons.”

Step 4: Border crossing

The fourth step in drug smuggling is crossing the border. This can be one of the most challenging steps in the process, as it requires passing through customs and border control checkpoints. Smugglers often use a variety of methods to evade detection, such as bribing border officials or using false documentation. In some cases, smugglers may use remote or less heavily trafficked border crossings to avoid detection. This can mean taking longer routes, but if that’s what it takes, they’ll do it. 

Step 5: Distribution

The fifth step in drug smuggling is distribution. Once the drugs have crossed the border, they are typically transported to a local distribution network. In other words, the dealer’s boss gets their hands on the substances. These middlemen may break the drugs down into smaller quantities and distribute them to street-level dealers, who then sell the drugs to individual users.

Step 6: Consumption

The final step in drug smuggling is consumption. The drugs are ultimately consumed by the users in the end, who may use them for recreational or medicinal purposes. These individuals probably have no real idea of how their substances reached them, or how many people were harmed along the way. Like the majority of globalization, the customers would rather ignore all that. Nonetheless, the drugs are consumed and enjoyed. 


Drug smuggling and drug trafficking is a long process that, in a sense, follows the same sort of methods as any product. However, this specific journey is far more illegal. It is the avoidance of getting caught that means that many individuals are exploited and bribed along the way. Although, if you follow back the journey of any of the products that you use everyday, many of them may not lead to something you’ll like. Drug trafficking and the lack of knowledge around it highlights the problem we have in society. We consume and consume, but very few really ask where the thing we are consuming came from.

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From the Archives: Return of the Lady Dealer (1975)

Many people met their first lady dealer in High Times #1, when we interviewed “Lynne,” a young New York City artist whose frank statements on dope, dealing and sexism caused a flurry of letters to the editor and, apparently, considerable controversy in households and dealing pads across the country.

Then, a year-and-a-half ago, a lady dealer seemed like an unusual creature. Now, the women’s liberation movement has fostered a new force on the dope marketing scene: a growing army of lady dealers. Able to move through all levels of society and across borders at the donning of a skirt, lady dealers are gaining new independence from a business once dominated by men—and more and more women are dealing with other women.

A woman can deal dope as well as the next guy, it seems, and her clientele has been readied by years of “consciousness raising.” Lynne is a veteran of all this, and like many other lady dealers, she is gradually coming into her own. Dealing allows her to do things and see things that would otherwise have been off limits. To a young woman who wants financial independence, dealing has the lure of quick money, good weed and incredible freedom.

Despite the controversy of our last interview, we invited Lynne back into the pages of High Times to talk once again about her life and the phenomenon of the lady dealer.

High Times: How is your life different now from a year ago?

Lynne: Well, last year I was still spinning from my split-up with a man. Since then I’ve become much more confident and secure about being on my own. I’m living in a new place, a totally anonymous apartment building uptown. I’ve changed my name. But I’m still doing the same thing—dealing.

On the same level?

Strangely enough, yes. For a while I was dealing five, ten, and twenty pound lots. Then the supply dried up, and now I’m back to dealing singles and fives. And, of course, ounces to those people I choose to bother with. My friends.

Any hassles with the police?

Not directly. I was working for an association that got busted, but I wasn’t there the night the raid came down. So I was safe.

What do you mean by an association?

This was a warehouse where assorted dealers would come and either buy or sell. Sort of a commodities exchange. I was a broker.

What did your duties entail?

Taking orders, filling them, counting the money, recording the transaction, and the usual social amenities that any broker has to go through with a client.

Did you like working for the association?

I loved it. I’ve never seen so much dope, of all kinds, in my life. And as an employee, I was able to get it at a substantial discount.

Did you encounter sex discrimination in your work for the association?

Generally speaking, no. The association itself treated men and women as equally as they could. Some of the people we dealt with were pretty fucked up, though.

For example?

One time I went to deliver a sample to a dealer. He took it but refused to consummate the deal with me, because he said he didn’t deal with women. I went back and told the chairman of the association, and he called up the dude and told him that we wouldn’t deal with anyone on that basis and that he’d have to deal with association women or be cut off. The dude quickly changed his mind.

It sounds like the association was pretty powerful.

Not really. They were relatively small—even their weights were small—but they were well organized. It was a business of the future. It was fun working with them.

What happened to them?

After the raid, which was brought down by an accident of some type, the association dissolved.

How has the dope supply been lately?

It’s been harder and harder to get. Sometimes the price jumps a hundred dollars a pound in one day! I can’t get weight any more, even though I have excellent connections. But I’ve learned not to judge my success by the amount of weight I move. The amount of money I’m making is the real index of success, and the time and hassle it takes. I’m much more pleasure-oriented now instead of success-oriented.

Why’s that?

Because I think now I have more security, more confidence in my ability to survive. Knowing, really knowing and accepting that my survival is covered. I can lay back and reevaluate my scene.

What has this meant in your case?

For one thing, I’ve cut off a lot of people who were annoyances to me. People who had psychological problems that surfaced in the way they dealt with me. You know, picky people, people who tried to cut corners, pull little ripoffs, people who didn’t pay their debts—I consider this kind of behavior a manifestation of psychological problems.

Another way that I have changed my scene is that I don’t let dealing dominate my life the way it used to. People used to call me at all hours of the day and night. I waited and kept other people waiting for hours—there were constant phone calls back and forth about availabilities, prices, descriptions, delivery arrangements and so on. Now, I refuse to even talk on the phone. People come over, bring money, do a transaction on the spot. If I tell them to come over, then I have the stuff. If I don’t call them, they’re instructed not to bother me unless they have something to sell. As you might imagine, it’s sort of a seller’s market, so I can get away with this. Which is good, because before, my whole life was built around dealing. Now I deal only in the mid-evening, and never on weekends. I find that I move much more dope in the long run at much greater profit, with minimum hassle, no incriminating phone calls. I have now put dealing in proper perspective—it’s an important part of my life, but not all pervasive. I spend a lot more money on myself, rather than reinvesting it in “the business,” and I try to plan ahead to have nothing but a good time.

Do you think women have been feeling this dope shortage more than men?

Well, it’s probably true that women have had less dope to deal and smoke lately than men, but men feel the pinch more. They need it to boost their egos and to treat their girls.

Are women doing anything to alleviate the shortage?

In my own case, I have arranged with several other women to score weed for me and transport it back here to the city. One of them sits on the source of supply, another one does the courier service, and I do the selling.

I also understand that you’re putting a smuggling trip together.

I’m trying. I’ve hired a captain, and crew who have a boat, and I picked up a connection in Jamaica. All we’re waiting for now is all the pieces to line up.

If it works out, maybe we can do an interview with a lady smuggler.

Either that or a lady inmate.

Do you think there are more women dealers now than two years ago?



The same reason there are more women working in all other areas, plus one additional reason. Women are locked out of many conventional jobs. Many women are forced to work far below their natural level, but in dealing, you can go as far as you’re able.

Are you saying there’s no sexism in dealing?

Of course not. In fact, dealing is one of the last preserves of machodom. The fact that it’s a crime puts so many guys on a Bogart trip, and after all it is the, you know, underworld—the dealing scene is never entirely free of plain violent human misfits that really need all that secrecy and sense of danger. But women can deal to other women, you know. And there are many, many dealers who are glad to buy and sell with anybody who has good weed at good prices. The outlaw nature of the business makes us all outlaws together, and there is a camaraderie that transcends, for the moment, the sexist conditioning we’re all given. It’s nice.

Have you encountered any violence in the last year?

No physical violence, although plenty of mental violence.

What do you mean by mental violence?

Oh, I guess I mean people who do cruel things that are just as unjust, destructive and intense as a smack in the mouth, like being ripped off in the middle of the night for dope.

How do you deal with violence? What would you do if someone tried to rape you in the middle of a deal?

What would you do?

It’s never happened to me.

Me either. I think I’d throw up.

Do you have any way of protecting yourself? Karate? A gun?

No, the only thing I would use would be something incapacitating but nonviolent. I have a can of mace I carry in my purse. I’ve never had to use it. Any scene that looks like trouble. I get away from it. There are too many safe and honest scenes to bother with fucked up people.

Do you ever deal anything besides smoke?

No. I like cocaine, and I do it occasionally, but I won’t deal it. The people into it are usually pretty heavy, and so are the laws, the cops and the judges. I don’t need it, so I don’t take any risk I don’t have to.

How about other kinds of dope?

Mushrooms occasionally. I used to deal speed very heavily in the mid-Sixties, but no more. No. I’m a weed dealer.

Do you think dealers smoke better weed than the public?

There’s no question about it. The dealers are by definition closer to the source of supply, and there’s an extremely limited supply of the very best smoke, and it’s so expensive that few people other than dealers can afford it. Little of the connoisseur-level stuff gets to the public. I know that I smoke much better stuff than my nondealer friends, unless they bought it from me. On the other hand, my main connection probably smokes better stuff than I do.

Has it been harder to get where you are because you’re a woman?

For sure, but it’s not nearly as rough in dealing as it is in the art world. It’s much better, now that I have some capital, than it was a year ago, when I needed credit fronted. I still see men getting better deals than me, and getting preference in choice and so on, but smart businessmen don’t fuck with me.

Do women deal differently than men?

Yes. I think they’re into accuracy more. They live more by the code, because they have no protection except their honesty.

Haven’t you ever heard of lady dealers who were into violence?

I’ve heard of instances of women taking on violence, but never of women initiating it. The only time I personally know of a lady involved in violence, it was an offshoot of a deal her old man had made.

Do you think marijuana causes violence?

(Laughter) Only in bed. Have you ever noticed how much sexuality there is in pot smoking? You know, two men passing a cigarette back and forth, their hands touching, sucking on the joint, staring at each other. It’s a very sensual situation, and I think one of the reasons dope smoking is popular is that it creates a sensual setting that is socially acceptable. Men can get into each other in a human way without being called queers. In dealing, gay people seem to be very accepted, for example.

It’s a form of oral gratification.

Right. I consider it pure pleasure to smoke good weed, and it enables me to get down with both men and women.

Are you bisexual?

Not yet.

Did that interview with you in High Times have much effect on your life?

Very few of my friends knew it was me, so it had no effect in that manner. I mean, I could have been a minor celebrity if I had wanted to be uncool, but I plan to stay in business, and people who do that don’t advertise, at least not under their real names. But it had a definite effect on me. I think seeing myself in print made what I was doing more real and therefore more satisfying and easier to get a grip on. I’ve learned a lot from High Times in the last year, too. I appreciate the fact that High Times seems to be trying to address itself to women as well as men.

Would you want your children to be dealers?

If I had children, I wouldn’t object, but I think that marijuana will be legal by then. Other things may not be legal, and I hope my children will do what they consider moral rather than what the laws dictate. I do.

Are you opposed to the social system as it now exists?

Definitely. And dealing shows my opposition. I feel that as long as I’m opposing the system, I might as well be getting paid for it. In dealing I can do that, but I’d do it for nothing if that’s what it took to spread marijuana around. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to say that marijuana is good for society, but I certainly feel that the suppression of marijuana is bad for society.

High Times Magazine, Dec/Jan 1975

Read the full issue here.

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Four Americans Convicted in U.K. Smuggling Case

Four U.S. nationals have been convicted of smuggling cannabis into the United Kingdom and now face time behind bars for their crimes, according to statements made by law enforcement officials. The convictions follow a rash of marijuana smuggling attempts made last month at London’s Heathrow Airport that resulted in the arrests of nine Americans in the span of a week.

On Friday, the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA) announced that three Americans were convicted of charges of importing class B drugs. In one case, 24-year-old Barrington Walters of Los Angeles, and Mandy Silowka, 34, of Princeton, New Jersey, were detained at Heathrow Airport by Border Force personnel after arriving on the same United Airlines flight from Los Angeles International Airport on January 17. Officers discovered 33 kilos (more than 72 pounds) of herbal cannabis in luggage belonging to Walters and another 26.5 kilos (more than 58 pounds) of weed in Silowka’s suitcase.

The pair were interviewed by NCA investigators and subsequently charged with importing class B drugs. On February 23, Silowka and Walters admitted their roles in the smuggling plot at Isleworth Crown Court in London and were convicted of the charges against them. Silowka received a 12-month custodial sentence, and Walters was given a 10-month jail term.

The next day, Kiara Lanee Malone, 31, a clothing boutique owner from St. Louis, Missouri, also pleaded guilty to charges of importing class B drugs. Following her conviction in Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, she was remanded into custody and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5.

Malone was arrested at Heathrow Airport on January 10 after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles when Border Force officers discovered 27.5 kilos (just over 60 pounds) of cannabis in her luggage. Malone told investigators that she was traveling to the U.K. for cosmetic procedures and admitted to bringing the bags, but said that she had been given the luggage by another person and thought that they contained clothing.

“These cases serve as further warnings to those who think they can get away with smuggling drugs into the U.K.,” NCA Heathrow Branch Commander Andy Noyes said in a statement from the law enforcement agency on February 24. “No matter what you might get told by those organizing these trips, you will get caught, and as these individuals will tell you, you will face jail time. The NCA and our partners in Border Force are determined to do all we can to target drugs couriers, and disrupt the international organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking.”

Last week’s cases followed the conviction of U.S. national Zered Akolo, a 26-year-old photographer from Antioch, California who was arrested at Heathrow Airport shortly after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles on January 16. Border Force officers searched his two checked bags and found 47 kilos (more than 103 pounds) of cannabis. Despite having luggage tags bearing his name, Akolo initially told investigators that the bags were not his. 

After questioning by NCA investigators, he was charged with attempting to import class B drugs. At a hearing at Isleworth Crown Court on Thursday, February 16, Akolo pleaded guilty to importing class B drugs and was sentenced to 32 months in prison.

“Akolo was foolish in the extreme to think he could get away with a brazen drug smuggling trip like this. As a result he faces a long period of time away from friends and family in a British jail,” Noyes said in a statement from the NCA on February 16. “I hope this case serves as a warning to others who would consider acting as drug mules for organized criminal gangs – it isn’t worth taking the chance.”

Nine Americans Arrested On Smuggling Charges In January

The convictions follow the arrests of nine Americans on drug smuggling charges at Heathrow Airport in just one week’s time in January. The smuggling attempts came as government officials engaged in a renewed debate over cannabis policy in the U.K. In July of last year, then-Home Secretary Priti Patel announced proposed new sanctions on users of cannabis and other drugs that include the confiscation of driver’s licenses and passports under a new three-strikes policy for illicit drug use. 

“Drugs are a scourge across society. They devastate lives and tear communities apart,” Patel said in a statement from the government. “Drug misuse puts lives at risk, fuels criminality and serious and violent crime and also results in the grotesque exploitation of young, vulnerable people.”

Under the proposal, which was detailed in a white paper drafted by the Home Office, those caught with illegal recreational drugs would face fines and mandatory drug education. They could also be banned from nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

Three months later, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed that she was considering tightening the classification of cannabis under the nation’s drug laws over concerns that marijuana is a gateway drug and can lead to serious health problems. Braverman’s review followed calls from law enforcement leaders to reclassify cannabis as a Class A drug, the same category assigned to substances including heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy.

But then last month, a group of police chiefs in the United Kingdom announced a plan to effectively decriminalize the possession of drugs including cannabis and cocaine. If adopted by the government, the use and possession of small amounts of recreational drugs would be treated as a public health issue for first-time offenders, rather than a criminal offense subject to prosecution and jail time or other punishment.

The proposals, which were developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, would effectively decriminalize the possession of Class A drugs including cocaine and Class B substances such as marijuana. Under the plan, individuals caught with illegal drugs would be offered an opportunity to attend drug education or treatment programs, rather than being subjected to prosecution.

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9 Americans Arrested for Smuggling Weed Into the U.K.

The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency revealed on Tuesday that a total of nine Americans have been arrested in the span of one week for attempting to smuggle cannabis into the island nation. The law enforcement agency is now investigating to determine if there is a link between the failed attempts to illegally import marijuana from California to the U.K.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) noted that nine individuals, all United States nationals, have been arrested since last week while trying to carry cannabis from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to London’s Heathrow Airport. All of those arrested have been charged with carrying between 30 and 50 kilograms (about 56 to 110 pounds) of cannabis in their checked baggage.

“We are working to understand how these seizures are connected, however to get this many off the same route in such a short period of time is clearly very unusual,” NCA senior investigation officer Darren Barr said in a statement from the agency. 

Courtesy National Crime Agency

9 Pot Seizures In One Week

The first seizure was made on Tuesday, January 10, when a passenger arriving at Heathrow from LAX was arrested after the Border Force found about 30 kilos of cannabis in the traveler’s luggage. Three days later, another seizure was made on Friday, followed by an additional two interdictions on Saturday. Cannabis from LAX was seized at Heathrow four more times on Sunday, while the most recent smuggling attempt to be thwarted occurred on Monday, January 16.

In all, about 340 kilograms (nearly 750 pounds) of marijuana were seized in the nine seizures at Heathrow over the week. All nine American nationals arrested have been charged with attempting to import class B drugs into the country and have been remanded into custody pending appearances in court.

Officials estimated the street value of the “herbal cannabis” at more than £5.5 million, or about $6.8 million, although law enforcement agencies have been known to make inflated estimates of the value of seized drugs. 

The NCA official warned that the suspects charged in the smuggling cases face steep penalties if they are found guilty. Convictions for importing class B drugs into the U.K. can carry unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to 14 years.

“Drugs couriers face stiff sentences so I’d urge anyone considering getting involved in such ventures to think very carefully about the consequences,” Barr noted. “Alongside partners like Border Force we are determined to do all we can to disrupt the organized crime groups involved in international drug trafficking.”

Steve Dann, the chief operating officer of the Border Force, praised the work of customs officials for their role in preventing the seized cannabis from entering the country.

“Drugs fuel violence and chaos on the streets and inflict suffering in communities across the U.K. Thanks to the work by Border Force, these dangerous drugs were stopped from reaching Britain’s streets and causing significant harm to our neighborhoods,” said Dann. “This seizure demonstrates the successful joint partnership between the Border Force and NCA, as well as our common commitment to keep our communities safe and smash the illegal drugs trade.”

Courtesy National Crime Agency

U.K. Cannabis Policy Under Debate

The marijuana seizures at Heathrow Airport come as government officials engage in a renewed debate over cannabis policy in the U.K. In July of last year, then-Home Secretary Priti Patel announced proposed new sanctions on users of cannabis and other drugs that include the confiscation of driver’s licenses and passports under a new three-strikes policy for illicit drug use. 

“Drugs are a scourge across society. They devastate lives and tear communities apart,” Patel said in a statement from the government. “Drug misuse puts lives at risk, fuels criminality and serious and violent crime and also results in the grotesque exploitation of young, vulnerable people.”

Under the proposal, which was detailed in a white paper drafted by the Home Office, those caught with illegal recreational drugs would face fines and mandatory drug education. They could also be banned from nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

Three months later, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed that she was considering tightening the classification of cannabis under the nation’s drug laws over concerns that marijuana is a gateway drug and can lead to serious health problems. Braverman’s review followed calls from law enforcement leaders to reclassify cannabis as a Class A drug, the same category assigned to substances including heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy.

But then last month, a group of police chiefs in the United Kingdom announced a plan to effectively decriminalize the possession of drugs including cannabis and cocaine. If adopted by the government, the use and possession of small amounts of recreational drugs would be treated as a public health issue for first-time offenders, rather than a criminal offense subject to prosecution and jail time or other punishment.

The proposals, which were developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, would effectively decriminalize the possession of Class A drugs including cocaine and Class B substances such as marijuana. Under the plan, individuals caught with illegal drugs would be offered an opportunity to attend drug education or treatment programs, rather than being subjected to prosecution. 

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Nigerian Customs Authorities Seize Nearly 600 Pounds of Weed

Customs authorities in Nigeria announced this week that a patrol had intercepted nearly 600 pounds of cannabis along a busy highway in the central part of the West African nation. Niger/Kogi Comptroller Busayo Kadejo said on Tuesday that 317 packages totaling 263.6 kilograms (more than 581 pounds) of illicit marijuana had been seized by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). 

Following the seizure, the cannabis was handed over to Barrister Haruna Kwetishe, the Niger State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in Minna, the capital of Niger state. 

The cannabis was discovered by an Area Command of the Customs Service patrol along the busy highway between the cities of Lokoja and Abuja in the central region of Nigeria. Kadejo noted that the suspected cannabis smugglers had fled after abandoning the truck carrying the marijuana and were still at large.

Cannabis is illegal in Nigeria, with penalties for possession of marijuana ranging from 12 years behind bars to life in prison for large-scale trafficking. Despite the risk, however, cannabis is one of the most popular illicit drugs in the country, and Nigeria is one of the largest West African producers of illicit marijuana.

Following the discovery, Kadejo commended the work of the customs officers that resulted in the seizure of the cannabis. But he also noted that illicit drugs have become deeply ingrained in Nigerian society.

“This occasion has come with a dual feeling and sadness and joy in my heart. First and foremost is the fact that some people are working tirelessly to build this nation while others are engaged in acts that are inimical to the development of the same country,” said Kadejo. “I am glad that due to the diligent application of self to duty, our officials were able to intercept these illicit packages. If the packages had escaped our eyes, they would have helped in the execution and sustenance of crimes such as banditry, kidnapping, thuggery and other social services.”

Suspected Smugglers On The Run

Noting that the suspected cannabis smugglers had escaped and fled into the bush after their truck was stopped by customs officers, Kadejo warned area residents to be alert for their presence. He also said that the NCS is determined to put cannabis smugglers in the country out of business.

“I strongly feel it is important that as the general elections are drawing closer, it is the responsibility of all and sundry to be at alert and report suspicious activities to law enforcement agencies,” Kadejo said. 

The local comptroller noted that he had received the approval of the Comptroller General of the Customs to transfer the seized cannabis to the Niger state command of the NDLEA, adding that “this shows the synergy that exists between the Nigeria Customs Service and the NDLEA.”

After accepting the seized cannabis, Kwetishe commended the customs service and said that the marijuana would be destroyed so it would not make its way to the illicit market.

“What the Customs has done is a clear case of synergy between the security agencies. It is a great job that the Customs have done,” said Kwetishe. “It has reassured us that Nigeria as a country is a project for everybody not necessarily for the security agencies. Anyone with information should call our attention to it and it will save lives.”

The NDLEA state commander also noted that any politicians using cannabis as an incentive to gain the support of young people in upcoming elections would be jailed until after ballots are cast.

“We assure the society that we will make Nigeria safe. Particularly in this period where drugs are used to ginger thuggery. I want to warn politicians that anybody in Niger state that wants to use drugs in this political era, NDLEA is able and ready to reign you in,” Kwetishe warned. “We will arrest you. You may not even see the elections. We will keep you till after the elections.” 

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Drug-Carrying Pigeon in Canadian Prison Yard

In a scheme straight out of the Middle Ages, authorities at the Pacific Institution in Abbotsford, a correctional facility about 50 miles away from Vancouver, “reported capturing a pigeon carrying a tiny backpack filled with illicit drugs” in the prison yard late last month, according to Yahoo.

Yahoo reports that a “tiny fabric backpack tied to the pigeon contained crystal meth,” and that guards at the prison “spotted the bird and its cargo on Dec. 29 in one of the facility’s recreation yards.”

“It was spotted by correctional officers, I believe, and security intelligence officers when the officers were doing their standard patrols around and throughout the unit and institution, that’s when they initially spotted the bird with the package on it,” John Randle, a spokesperson for the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, said, as quoted by Yahoo. “The officers then set up a trap to capture it.”

The Canadian Broadcasting Company has more on the daring capture: 

“Officers were standing in one of the fenced inmate unit yards, which prisoners use regularly for hanging out, playing games or just getting some fresh air. Then the officers noticed something strange: a grey bird with a small package on its back. ‘From my understanding, it was tied to it in a similar fashion as like a little backpack,’ Randle said. The officers moved in. ‘They had to corner it,’ Randle said. ‘You can imagine how that would look, trying to catch a pigeon.’ After ‘a lengthy period of time,’ the officers apprehended the bird, removed its cargo and set it free. Randle said the package contained about 30 grams of crystal meth, which he described as a ‘fairly substantial’ amount of the intensely addictive stimulant. ‘It’s definitely scary with the fact that it was crystal meth that was found on the bird, because that causes a whole lot of problems,’ he added. Corrections Canada confirmed in an email it is investigating, but would not provide further details.”

There is precedent for this sort of fowl play.

In 2017, customs officials in Kuwait captured a pigeon that was also carrying drugs in a miniature backpack.

“A total of 178 pills were found in the fabric pocket attached to its back,” the BBC reported at the time, citing the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Ra’i.

“The bird was caught near the customs building in Abdali, close to the border with Iraq,” the BBC said. “An al-Rai journalist said the drugs were a form of ketamine, an anaesthetic also used as an illegal party drug. Abdullah Fahmi told the BBC that customs officials already knew pigeons were being used to smuggle drugs, but this was the first time they had caught a bird in the act.”

There was a similar story out of Argentina that same year, with police there shooting and killing “a carrier pigeon as it flew into a prison, then found a stash of cannabis and other contraband in a tiny backpack sewn to its feathers,” the British newspaper The Independent reported at the time.

“Officers at the Colonia jail in Santa Rosa, La Pampa, became suspicious after noticing the bird flying back and forth into the building over a number of days,” the newspaper reported. “After downing it, they discovered 7.5 grams of cannabis as well as 44 pills of the sedative Rivotril and a USB stick.”

“The method is also the most common way to sneak drugs into the Federal Penitentiary jail in Buenos Aires, the authorities said,” The Independent added.

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