Top 10 Creative Drug Smuggling Operations

July 12, 2010 | Lists

"Drug mule"Recently, another kind of World Cup made the news, one that Maradona would probably try just as desperately to obtain – a 24-lb replica that you wouldn’t want to hoist over your head for fear of dropping it in the presence of the winners of the Colombian men’s creative carving competition. (See Number 3, below).

It used to be that drug traffickers employed backpackers looking to turn a quick buck for a shower back home, uncomfortably seated industry mules, or  tourists who turned their head a moment too long at the airport. These days, means other than the underside of a fruit truck, long haul casino buses and birthday presents from “grandma” (quotes optional for the rare granny who does send a bit of the white pony through the post on special occasions) are required to keep the underground economy pumping a steady stream of stimulants to First World weekenders.

While the domestic auto industry can stamp its feet and plead for government bailouts every time foreign competition threatens its innovation-free way of doing business, drug traffickers are forced to deal directly with the brutal realities of the market. In order to get their product to market in the most efficient way possible—significant R&D is required—repackaging and deception.

Here, we focus on the kind of ingenuity that keeps some countries’ trade balance in positive territory and on these shores, provides welcome summer employment relief to teens in this our Top 10 Creative Drug Smuggling Operations.

 "Cocoselle smuggling"10. Heroin in Chocolate Bars.

Chocolate is addictive, or at least so said some guy we ran into recently, who was admittedly hard to understand what with all that cake crammed into his mouth. Being a “chocoholic” though has to be among the better addictions since it is far less likely to result in a felony conviction and usually the worst damage it can do to family life is to cause a spouse to step out once you start testing the legs on the living room sofa. Some chocolate types are more addictive than others, and a shipment of Cocoselle chocolate bars seized at JFK Airport would have satisfied more than just a sweet tooth, containing as it did 11 pounds of China White. The brand choice was likely a gambit to avoid thorough search by peckish border agents, as it’s widely acknowledged that some of the crappiest candy bars contain coconut.

9. Crystal Meth-Soaked Towels.

Rodney Dangerfield joked that he once stayed at a hotel so cheap they stole his towels. One way to save money for souvenirs though, is to steal liberally from hotels—batteries out of the remote control, the complimentary bible for drink coasters, and, of course, as many towels as you can stuff into your baggage. Beware, however, that in hotels with cleaning staff who actually give a toss (rare), you run the risk of having your theft communicated to the front desk and facing an embarrassing search while wholesome families are checking in. If you have soaked your towels in crystal methamphetamine prior to checking out, as was the case with some smugglers in Jakarta, we recommend karate chopping the biggest looking porter and running for it.

8. Cocaine in Frozen Sharks.

We have developed a certain fondness for sharks since using the beast for branding purposes and we are occasionally vaguely perturbed about the use of their fins in soups by some lusty Chinese. Here at least these Mexican drug smugglers used the entire carcass to smuggle cocaine. Many things have been found inside sharks—-tires, cattle parts, buoys, Samuel Jackson—so we can now add Peruvian marching powder to that list.

"Mr Potato Head Smuggling"7. Ecstasy in Mr Potato Head.

When you’re a kid, Mr Potato Head is a fun toy to decorate by putting different glasses and hats etc on him. When you’re older a similar kind of fun can be had when someone passes out at a party.

Some Irish drug smugglers found a grown-up use for Herr Spud when they packed him full of  10.5 ounces of ecstasy and mailed him to Australia.

6. Marijuana Surf Boards.

One of the most common methods of transporting contraband, whether it’s dancers to support the domestic rub & tug industry or weapons-grade uranium, is of course, by sea. The image in popular culture is the mustachioed speed boater blinding the coast guard with gaudy jewelry but occasionally other methods are used as well. A Mexican national was busted hauling 24 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $75,000, using, of all means, a vintage surf board. Agents ordered the surfer to come ashore, tipped off that he didn’t look like he was trolling for gnarly waves, but was paddling slowly, hauling enough weed to stock a Snoop Dog family barbecue.

"Tickle Me Elmo Drug Bust"5. Meth Elmo Dolls.

If this was the 90s, the last conduit for pharmaceuticals you’d select would be the much sought-after Tickle Me Elmo doll, which resulted famously in parents duking it out with one another for access to whatever few remaing toys graced store shelves. These days though, the doll has faded in popularity in inverse relation to the popularity of meth. Recently, Barstow California agents performed an autopsy on one such Elmo (Editors’ note: if there are children present, have them leave the room while you click on the link, that is, if the title of this post Top 10 Creative Drug Smuggling Operations wasn’t enough to have them fetch you a beer while you read this]. Officials, tipped off by this being an Elmo that you could do arm curls with in prison, found 4 lbs of the stuff inside.

4. Diapers Filled with Cocaine.

From the toys of early childhood to the protective layering that keeps babies from crapping on floors, drug smugglers have their bases covered when it comes to using the ankle-biters to cover their nefarious doings. Here a tale of diapers filled with cocaine, which, compared to their normal contents doesn’t sound half bad.

"World Cup drug smuggling"3. World Cup Trophy.

Mentioned above. A statue made of some kind of substance to hold the mold together and nostril fuel.

2. Jesus Statue.

Religion gives some sort of high apparently. Go to the right church and you may even convince yourself that handling venomous snakes and drinking poison can’t hurt you because your belief is good and true. You’ll be wrong and will likely have your stomach pumped by an EMT sick of being called to that “hillbilly church”, but you’ll know what it is to experience religious ecstasy. A far safer option to alter your state of consciousness is cocaine, 3 kilos of which went into a mold of everybody’s favorite redeemer, JC.

1. Drug Submarine. "Drug smuggling submarine"

The Calabrian Ndrangheta, with which one of the Calabrian-surnamed authors of this piece is in no way whatsoever affiliated (the other is staying mum on the subject) has been known to construct underwater vessels to transport the Peruvian marching powder sans radar detection. In a feat of engineering that would be the envy of the Canadian Navy and many a third world country (particularly the ones that aren’t landlocked), drug barons built a diesel-electric powered 100 foot long and completely submersible submarine that was later confiscated by Ecuadoran officials.

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