Watching border security shows, you see many drug busts from people who seem to have forgotten to have removed their brain to make room for carrying more drugs. Jokes aside, these people really seem to suck at their stories. They fail to do the basics when it comes to making up a good story,researching tourist destinations and bringing the basic amount of money.
Instinct tells me that it’s confirmation bias and in reality, we only see these busts because these are the dumbest of the dumb or should I say the most desperate who forget common sense . I don’t doubt that drug mules target white women/men with kids and who are middle class simply because they seldom get busted. When is the last time you saw someone like that get extra scrutiny? These people must be used as they simply raise a low red flag.
Some mules being caught and the drugs being confiscated are simply a cost of doing business, one the major drug traffickers work into their assumptions and plans. They don’t need every mule to get through, just most of them.
A drug trafficker could of course put a lot of effort into a more elaborate method of border defeat, such as hiding drugs in legitimate large scale shipments, such as in shipping containers, trucks, and the like. There are of course even more elaborate methods such as dedicated planes and boats crossing borders surreptitiously, piloted by skilled people who know how to evade law enforcement. It’s all been tried. In so doing they generally employ more reliable and skilled criminals… but the downside is that you’re putting more eggs into fewer baskets. The use of many mules guarantees a rate of loss, but a manageable and more predictable one, without the downside of losing an employee you actually don’t want to lose.
As someone else pointed out EricaRoche you seem smart enough. I’d like you to smuggle 5 pounds of cocaine for me from Mexico to the United States. I’ll give you $500. Are you in? No? Ok. $600? What would it take?
The drug kingpins may even regard the arrest of some of their mules as a necessary sacrifice. Border security is going to conduct searches for contraband. If the kingpins put more effort into concealing the drugs then the border security will just spend more effort searching for them.
So the drug kingpins may decide the best strategy is to send some incompetent mules across the border. They’ll probably get caught but their capture will fulfill the border security’s need to make arrests. Border security will be content to stay at a low enough level of alertness to catch these mules without going after the more professional smugglers. As a bonus, some of the incompetent mules will get lucky and succeed in their deliveries.
Well, the trick isn’t to hire people who are actually middle class, but rather people who look like they could be middle class. Think some clean cut, conservative looking guy in polo shirt and cargo shorts driving a nice, but not flashy-looking, car with some golf clubs in the back.
Or the suburban mom-looking woman Henry Hill hires in “Goodfellas” to make his drug shipments.
As they say, “Nobody hears about the truly successful embezzlers.” It’s a bell curve. A few idiots are inevitably going to get caught. A few are fantastic at the job and will never get caught. But the vast majority have just enough success that they keep at it until their luck runs out.
Even better, plant the drugs on people who have those characteristics who you don’t even have to pay!
It also lowers the exposure of the employees doing the planting. With sufficient lookouts, on both sides of the border, it’s very unlikely anyone will get caught.
a. Lookouts would watch for cops on the Mexican side of the border and text the criminal doing the planting of the drugs when the coast is clear/warn if it’s not
b. The drug canisters could be tracked with GPS (cheaply - by sticking a smartphone + extra battery in the cannister and using an app). Have lookouts at the major border crossings. If the car crossing gets caught, don’t try to recover those drugs.
c. Have lookouts on the American side for when the criminal who recovers the smuggled drugs goes to get them.
It’s a savings in 2 major ways :
a. Less money paying mules
b. Since less of the criminals in the organization are getting caught, that’s less people who might rat others out. Every drug mule who gets caught may potentially cut a deal and rat out others.
Criminality doesn’t generally attract the top talent, but it’s still worth noting the mathematical principal that if a bunch of planes come back from the warzone with bullets riddled all down the middle of the fuselage, then that doesn’t mean that the fuselage is a giant target that needs to be armored better, it means that the planes which were hit somewhere other than the fuselage are the ones that didn’t make it back.
You would expect dumb criminals to be the majority of criminals caught, because they’re the dumbest. The smartest criminal stays on the other side of the border and sends other people to do the dirty work.
I wouldn’t be surprised. I have read a few books about the drug trade and some of the tactics used are pretty ingenious.
One tactic is that you have a convoy of cars separated by decent space.
The first car in the convoy is a decoy car. It screams ‘drug smuggler’ but doesn’t have drugs in it. The cops pull that car over.
The second (and third, and fourth, etc) car in the convoy are invisible middle class cars. The cops are busy with the decoy car and they miss the actual drug cars.
The last car in the convoy is a car being driven by someone who has an open container of alcohol. If one of the real drug smuggling cars gets pulled over, then this person’s job is to intentionally wreck their car into the cop car. If they do that, the cops stop searching the middle class drug car and focus their attention on the drunk who hit the cop car.
They had tons of ideas like this. Interesting stuff. Maybe as you say, some incompetent smugglers are hired so that law enforcement resources are devoted to them, and then the real smugglers get through.