Caught Smuggling Marijuana
Tried and true ways to land your ass in jail smuggling marijuana regardless of medical issue.
I was talking to my good friend "the worm," whom I met because he was working as the worm in the bottom of the Mexican tequila bottles from which I was liberally drinking when they came in. I knew right away that they were Americans, not because that's the only clientele that this sleazy tourist trap just over the border gets, although it is, but because they had University of Southern California written all over their faces. And all over their T-shirts.
While my good friend continued his discourse on the increase of references to beastiality on the last few Carpenters' albums, I watched the three baby-faced, quasilong-haired collegiates stumble into the booth next to ours. Noticing my waning interest, my good friend the worm stopped mid-recitation and informed me confidentially, “Big time drug smugglers from the States.”
I nodded. I had seen the type before. Spending the school holidays in Mexico, hoping to score enough weed at a low price and sneak it through Customs, thus having enough hooch to last until the end of the semester. I was about to make a profound comment to my good friend the worm, but he cut me off.
“Sshh,” he commanded, “listen.”
Their conversation floated over to our table.
We could hear them outline their plans to get by Customs.
“You sure it’s gonna work?” asked the smallest smuggler, his eyes nervously darting from face to face in the place.
“Positive. You know Big Al, right?” The one who my good friend the worm assured me was the ringleader answered, “Well, Big Al's cousin has a friend whose brother's brother-in-law does it all the time. It never fails.”
“Besides,” the third gang member chirped in, “what have you got to worry about? Mary’s the one who'll be carrying it. She’s the one with child.’”
At the mention of “with child” all three broke into gales of laughter.
“The ole pregnancy scam,” mused my good friend the worm. “It’ll never work. They look too young.”
Tony came back from the can hollering about circumcision by zipper. I filled him in on what went down at the next table. He looked at them for a second. “Jeez, any bimbo knows you go to Mexico to get rid of the pregnancy,” he said as he picked up the tequila bottle and finished it off, swallowing my good friend the worm in the process.
“Well,” he said at length, “we’ve got an opening for the article.”
The average Joe on the street would be considered crazy if he went into the ring against Mohammed Ali expecting to beat the champ (or even live). He'd also be certified nuts to think he could beat Amarillo Slim in the game of five card stud. Or to whip Dr. J. in a game of one on one.
Yet literally thousands of would-be smugglers try to beat the pros at the illegal importer detection game—the US Customs Service. The same guy who would laugh at the average Joe trying to bluff Amarillo with a pair of deuces, thinks nothing of trying to outsmart an agent who’s seen almost every conceivable hiding place for contraband.
The fact that Ali was a world champion may cause the average Joe to reconsider, but the fact that the Customs Service has been around since 1789, and handles millions of travelers each year, doesn’t deter enough people from trying to get an illegal substance from one country into the US. They think their false bottoms in suitcases or padded bras full of bud are so ingenious that the agents stationed at the border would never think of it. They probably also think that a menstrual cycle is an Italian bicycle. So, to help all these would-be customs dodgers, here are some tried and true methods of transporting your stash across a border that are guaranteed to land you in the pokey.
Who are those that the Customs agent's eagle eye spots as a potential smuggler? Usually those who advertise their business.
A tip-off to the agent is someone who is exceedingly nervous. Or extremely helpful. Or overly talkative. The agent asks himself, “Why is this person so nervous/helpful/talkative?” Also, anyone coming into the U.S. who is young and has longish hair or looks moderately hip is on the agent's list to check out. So is anyone who has a roundtrip ticket to Columbia and little or no luggage. Agents have also been known to stop nuns named Sister Finklestein and Rabbis with the last name of O'Houlihan.
Customs agents usually are looking for marijuana being smuggled in by these people. No civilians actually smuggle in cocaine anymore. With the decriminalization movement's strength, authorities have altered their hunt from civilian users to civilian smugglers. The Feds continue to increase spending and resources while state official have dramatically decreased their efforts.
There are basically seven places that agents look for the contraband. These methods have all been tried before and constitute the old regulars...
In Your Person
“What they can’t see can’t hurt them.” But it can hurt you. More and more people are trying a variation of the “California Kiss,” an old method used in prisons to get drugs to prisoners. It consists of a balloon full of whatever being passed orally to the prisoner by a kiss from the visitor. The prisoner then swallows it and waits for it to pass through the digestive system, when he then retrieves it in the privacy of his cell.
Those trying to get product across the border have taken to filling condoms with liquid substance and swallowing a number of them. Ingenious, right?
But before we go on, let's pose another question. How many of you are the result of your dad breaking through the old “midnight guardian?” Raise your heads. That many? All right, you can put down your hands.
You see the problem. Steven Alan Barton didn’t. He swallowed 27 finger-sized balloons filled with hash oil. Sometime later, Steven came down with severe stomach pains, so severe in fact, that a doctor had to be called in to remove the 27 balloons. This led to his arrest.
Both Customs and the DEA report that incidents of this nature have been on the rise. You might not be caught by Customs, but you might be caught—dead.
After watching Mission: Impossible, where the whole Fifth Battalion is hidden in a false bottom of a suitcase Peter Lumpus is carrying, smugglers everywhere get the idea that this is a foolproof system of getting in the goods. They don’t carry any drugs on their person and Customs goes through their luggage and finds nothing. Simple, right?
There are a few things these potential smugglers forget about false bottoms, however. False bottoms take up space. If you have a suitcase that is seven inches deep, yet all you can squeeze into it—after the false bottom is in place—is two pairs of boxer shorts, a shirt and a pair of plastic earphones from your flight, and the suitcase weighs 23 pounds, now, don’t you think someone might get suspicious? Of course, since the agent sees nothing, you get waved right on through, right?
Unfortunately, Peter Lumpas drops his suitcase just ahead of you in the Customs line and the Fifth Battalion pops out and arrests you.
This is a close cousin of the false bottom. An object, say shoes or a book, is hollowed and stuffed with whatever substance is to be surreptiously brought across the border. Everything looks normal and no one's the wiser.
Well, maybe Leslie Cuttler of Carbondale, Illinois is. She was arrested at the Miami International Airport after Customs agents found nearly a pound of marijuana stuffed into her platform shoes.
And since platform shoes have been in style for a few years, this type of transporting is enjoying an increase. There is more room for large amounts of drugs in the soles. But with these larger amounts, usually comes the tip-off. The wearer walks funny, since the shoes are heavier than he or she is used to. Or if the shoes are in the luggage, the Customs agent can tell they contain contraband material, since he gets a hernia from lifting them to examine them.
Besides shoes, books—especially the Bible—are used quite frequently. On display at the Customs Service headquarters in New York City is a hollowed-out New Testament that a man posing as a priest allegedly used to get 200 well rolled joints across the border.
The hollowed-out object that is gaining in popularity, according to those policing the borders, is aerosol cans. The cans are emptied, the tops removed and then filled with whatever and retopped. Incidents of aerosol cans filled with weed are up over an incredible 500% in the last few years.
Take, for example, Moya Green and Francine La Fontaine, two Canadian women. They were arrested in Miami after 66 ounces of liquid THC had been found secreted in aerosal cans in their luggage.
Works of Art
One of the most creative ways of getting your stash across the border is disguising the dope as a work of art. This is done in many ways.
A mold can be made of a statue from bricks of hashish that have been worked into a paste-like consistency is used to fill the mold. When the dope hardens, the mold is removed and the hash statue is then painted.
One large problem with this method is that hash smells like hash. Also, the statues are incredibly heavy, leading to further investigation by the authorities.
Another way is to form a candle around the dope and pass that off as a work of art. But if the Customs agent suspects you for any reason, this is one of the first places they look. And usually they ask for purchase orders or bills of sale to verify purchase of the work of art and maintain its authenticity.
Other Tried and True Methods
There are almost innumerable ways to try to get by Customs with contraband dope. Hidden in machine parts, anywhere in a car (air vents, side door panels, etc.), hollowed-out furniture, cans of cashew nuts, replacing a motor in a hair dryer; the list could go on and on. But why bother? The agents knew almost all of these places. They've all been tried before. Plus, they have a very good method of detecting dope that they can’t see.
A Final Word
Although this article is meant to inform people of the risk they take trying to smuggle marijuana or something else past the U.S. Customs Service, we'd like to end on an up note.
The one point a would-be contrabandist has in his or her favor is numbers. Because of the sheer number of people that the Service has to deal with, more than three-quarters get by with whatever they hide. But if any of these more common ways we've told you about is used, your chances go from one in four to almost nil. It takes a very, very creative mind with nerves of steel and a very clear view of the consequences to pull it off. If you're still going to try it after all we've said, we can just add this piece of advice: “Watch your ass.”
Made from a genuine product container, the Men's Speed Stick Safe Stash is perfect for hiding any of your valuables in plain sight. It's compact enough to fit in a car, luggage, gym bag, or even in your pocket. The pull-off bottom is sturdy enough to keep your goods in place until you choose to remove them.