Anything to declare? Just my watermelon

A recent scandal involving fake watermelons and 3,000lb of marijuana prompted further investigation into how far people will go to smuggle illegal products over borders.  Creativity seems key when it comes to drug smuggling, but these artistic fiends seem to have fallen s+=hort in terms of practicality in their imaginative attempts.

Most people like to keep items of value on their person whilst travelling; inside your person is another matter however.  Many people will be aware of those who swallow condoms full of drugs and hope their metabolism takes it slow over the flight.  However, others have taken it a stage further, with some men actually smuggling drugs in the foreskin of their penis.  Women with larger bosoms have been finding an alternative use for their breasts by temporarily storing drugs under them. This technique has also been imitated by the more corpulent, who have hidden drugs under the rolls of skin above their stomach. Some may say the need to keep your prized possessions close may have been taken a tad far in these circumstances.

Sweets seem an innocent enough treat – but beware of them on planes. Lollipops with a tasty candy shell have in the past been used to conceal cocaine, although these attempts were not successful in the end. Weed, on the other hand, is apparently less detectable, as one student managed to conceal a weed lollipop in her backpack on her return from Amsterdam. 

One sly attempt at drug smuggling was in a three-kilogram statue of Jesus made of both plaster and cocaine. Moving onto even more unstable moral ground: in 1993, smugglers cut open 312 boa constrictors, hid 36kg of cocaine stored in condoms in their stomachs and sewed them back up to go on the plane.  All the snakes died, unsurprisingly, but oddly enough no one was ever charged.

Some smugglers have realised that crossing borders and all the security that goes along with it is just too much hassle, so they have built makeshift cannons, catapults and t-shirt guns, and have thrown marijuana over the fence separating the United States and Mexico. Alongside flinging canisters over the fence, they have also flung marijuana buds into the soil on the other side of the border in an attempt to turn the national perimeters into a marijuana farm – however, harvesting that particular drug may have been a struggle later on.

The carrier pigeon report evokes the most entertaining imagery. As these pigeons are trained to go from person to person, the most productive way to take advantage seems to be to strap drugs to them and send them on their way.  However, this failed and 6oz of weed and 2oz of cocaine was seized by the Columbian guards. Perhaps they should have trained the pigeons to fly away from men with guns. 

According to two students, trains are the quintessential transportation for this smuggling business. Marijuana may be freely bought in Copenhagen and then taken across the border to Sweden on the train. So, this pair of students attempted to smuggle marijuana by taping it to the outside of the train in order to retrieve it when they arrived at their destination. 

It is becoming well known that illegal activities such as drug smuggling require a lot of imagination. Luckily however, common sense seems to have evaded many drug smugglers. 

Image: Amy Steele

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