Drug Trafficking Methods in the United States
In 2009, the United States Customs and Border Control seized over 1,626 tons of illegal drugs. “The United States Customs and Border Control (CPB), is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws.” (CBP.gov) The CBP along with the United States Coast Guard seizes illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and ...view middle of the document...
S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 85 pounds on marijuana from a minivan that was in Arizona. The drug was concealed in the 1997 Ford Windstar’s door jam and fenders (CBP, July 2009).
A drug mule or courier is a person who transports illegal drugs by using their body. There are multiple ways that this type of trafficking occurs. The first is when the drug strapped to the person’s body and then hidden by clothing. A more dangerous way that drugs are being trafficked is by ingesting the drug into one’s body and is then retrieved later. This is done by swallowing balloons or condoms that contain the drug. The drug is then left alone to run its course through the digestive tract and later retrieved through the courier’s stool. The courier risks their medical health when doing this. If a packet is to burst before it can exit the body, the amount of the drug that enters onto the body can cause an overdose. A courier may insert the packets of drugs into their body directly through their anus or vagina.
There are multiple ways for illegal drugs to be brought into the country using the open seas. Some of these ways involved container ships, cruise ships, commercial fishing boats, recreation boats, and semisubmersibles. In 2009, the United States seized 24,737 kilograms of drugs while in transit using these methods.
Due to high security on the United States boarder, drug cartels are becoming more creative in the way that they are bringing their product into the country. Traveling at 6+ knots in a 40 to 80 foot vessel, traffickers are using semisubmersibles (SPSSs) to transport cocaine to the south-west coast line on the United States. These semisubmersibles run inches below the water’s surface unable to be detected visually and only by sonar. SPSSs are built in rivers under the cover of thick jungles then sailed into open water where they are capable of carrying up to 10 tons of cocaine that is trafficked into the United States. According to the Joint Interagency Task Force South, an average vessel cost $2 million USD and can carry a cargo worth $400 million USD when sold on the street.
Due to the low pay that workers receive while being employed by cruise line companies, some workers find themselves resorting to other ways to receive an income. While in port in a South American country, workers will pick up their cargo of drugs and transport them to another port of call that the ship is making. While docked in America, the worker will deliver their cargo and make a transaction with the awaiting drug dealer. This type of drug trafficking is kept out of the American media but is still a large issue.
In December of 2010, three Jamaican cruise ship employees for Royal Caribbean's 989-foot Enchantment of the Seas, where arrested in Baltimore, Maryland after...