Santos says he became one of the thousands of American and … Cocaine seized by Coast Guard | Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images. As an American, Santos could freely cross the El Paso-Juarez border and not raise suspicion. An increasingly popular type of swallowing involves having the drug in the form of liquid-filled balloons or condoms/packages. ... You just have to forget you have something illegal in the car.". How Much Money Does A Drug Kingpin Make? The woman claimed her Fourth Amendment rights had been violated, but the court found in favor of the border authorities. Watch how teens get drugs across the border ». Two weeks later, he got a $4,000 job offer to drive his first load of marijuana across a bridge into El Paso. Smugglers buy them in Hong Kong and employ mules that strap iPhones around their waists and ankles, and smuggle them across the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. In 2003, over 50% of foreign females in UK jails were drug mules from Jamaica. Santos is working two part-time jobs, and he says it takes him two months to earn the money that he used to make in one day of drug smuggling. Drug Mule Drug Mule ... so much can go wrong with such a plan that the odds of losing the shipment should keep all but the foolhardy from trying it. The officials say a cartel member sets up a meeting to determine whether the kid is up to the job. Unruptured packets may sometimes be detected by rectal or vaginal examination, but the only reliable way is by X-ray of the abdomen. This is done by a person usually called a mule or bait. Swallowers are often impoverished and agree to transport the drugs in exchange for money or other favors. As far as academic work goes, a 2000 study by economists at the University of Chicago (including Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame) indicates that low-level drug dealers make roughly $20,000 or $30,000 per year. Did we make a mistake? She had been detained for over 16 hours by customs inspectors before she finally passed some of the balloons. "We had a kid here who lost a load and had some of his toes chopped off," Rodriguez said.  In a vehicle, the contraband is hidden in secret compartments.. A drug mule may swallow dozens upon dozens of balloons. "I didn't care. Some contraband is legal to possess but is subject to taxes or other import restrictions, such as second-hand clothes and computers, and the purpose of the smuggling is to get around these restrictions.  The swallower then attempts to cross international borders, excrete the balloons, and sell the drugs. Methods of smuggling include hiding the goods in vehicles or carried items, attaching them to one's body, or using the body as a container. Television shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire don’t necessarily glorify drug dealers, but they do send the message that the occupation — if you could call it that — can be quite lucrative. But there are also alternatives, like methamphetamines and prescription pills (opioids) that are far easier to produce and get your hands on in certain areas. Boxing and smuggling can both be vicious worlds, but at least boxing is legal. "There's a lot of money in the trade, a lot of inducement for a lot of young people to get involved," El Paso County Attorney Jose Rodriguez said.  Nigerian women make a large contribution to the remaining figure. But he has no regrets. How much money any individual makes from the drug trade or from dealing depends on numerous factors, but it mostly comes down to simple supply and demand laws. It is most common for the swallower to be making the trip on behalf of a drug lord or drug dealer. I had no conscience," Santos said at a boxing gym in El Paso, Texas. Is that an accurate portrayal of reality? These teenagers are usually hired only to smuggle drug loads across the border.  Emetics like syrup of ipecac, enemas, and endoscopic retrieval all carry a risk of packet rupture and should not be used. The balloons may be made with multilayered condoms, fingers of latex gloves, or more sophisticated hollow pellets. Getting them to the streets of the American Midwest, then, presents an expensive challenge. , The practice of transporting goods outside or inside of the body is called body packing. 2020 Showbiz Cheat Sheet, All Rights Reserved. But that was a decade and a half ago — and the landscape has changed a lot since then. Ruptured packets can be fatal and often require treatment as for a drug overdose and may require admission to an intensive care unit. "People feel like they can trust you, then you move up to something bigger.". The drug-fueled streets of the Texas-Mexico border provided his education, and he was an excellent student. If you’re peddling cocaine on Wall Street? He's chasing the golden dreams of boxing championships and hoping to make more money boxing than he did smuggling. Depending on the size of the drug load that's being smuggled, a kid can be paid a couple hundred dollars up to $5,000. US. That’s about 0.75% of global GDP. , Electronic products such as iPhones sell cheaper in Hong Kong, one of China's Special Administrative Regions where the tax laws are relaxed. It's a short drive or walk that offers quick cash but can carry serious consequences.  Oil-based laxatives should never be used, as they can weaken the latex of condoms and cause packets to rupture. Small-scale operations, in which one courier carries one piece or a very small quantity, are sometimes called the ant trade. It’s very difficult to actually say. Now he spends every day training at a boxing gym in El Paso. It is most common for the swallower to be making the trip on behalf of a drug lord or drug dealer. This is often done using a mule's gastrointestinal tract or other body cavities as containers. Sometimes the goods are hidden in the bag or vehicle of an innocent person, who does not know about the contraband, for the purpose of retrieving the goods elsewhere. There are numerous online forum posts and questions posed to drug dealers asking how much they make, which may actually be the best way to get an honest answer these days, given the anonymity. It’s much more complicated than you would think. A phone number is included in the ad. But there’s no way to be absolutely sure. As reported in Lost Rights by James Bovard: "Nigerian drug lords have employed an army of 'swallowers', those who will swallow as many as 150 balloons and smuggle drugs into the United States. Danny Santos, 21, works two part-time jobs and still doesn't make as much as he did as a drug mule. A police officer holds a bag of heroin | John Moore/Getty Images. ", All About Illegal Drugs • Ciudad Juarez • Border Control and Customs, Watch how teens get drugs across the border », U.S. teens were hit men for Mexican cartel, Danny Santos, 21, says he made $50,000 in four years as a drug mule, Santos smuggled drugs across U.S. border from Juarez, Mexico, He was arrested once, as a juvenile, but said charges were dropped, Santos now works two part-time jobs as trains as a boxer. Young smugglers don't fit a stereotype. In Hernandez, a woman attempted to smuggle 88 balloons of cocaine in her gastrointestinal tract. She was being held because her abdomen was noticeably swollen (she claimed to be pregnant), and a search of her body had revealed that she was wearing two pairs of elastic underpants and had lined her crotch area with paper towels. As far as academic work goes, a 2000 study by economists at the University of Chicago (including Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame) indicates that low-level drug dealers make … Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger, a 2000 study by economists at the University of Chicago, Your Reluctance to Loan Friends and Family Money is Justified. Submit a … The organizers employ mules to reduce the risk of getting caught themselves. That goes up for those dealing with harder drugs. Marijuana, for one, is now actually legal in some places, meaning there’s an influx of supply and that it’s easy to cultivate — so, it’s not going to net a street dealer nearly as much as it used to. But Rodriguez offers a chilling reason why teenagers should avoid the lure of easy money. If you’re dealing heroin in certain cities — particularly in certain areas where the opioid crisis is in full swing — the money is probably great. He said charges were dropped.
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