Monday, February 6, 2012

Ingenious Ways Cartels Smuggle Drugs

In today’s world, speed and efficiency is key.  The same goes for drug smuggling.  Since the war on drugs began, the government has been chasing down and busting drug smuggling rings operating across international borders.  It is a cat-and-mouse game between DEA and drug cartels.  Because of advancements in the DEA’s technology, drug cartels have had to come up with ingenious ways in order to bring their products into the United States. 

Drug cartels still use standard methods of smuggling their products, such as drug filled balloons in the stomach and large commercial 18-wheelers.  However, DEA, airport customs agents, border patrol, and other law enforcement agencies are well aware of these methods.  Because law enforcement is aware of these methods, smugglers have invested in ways to fly under the radar and make their deliveries. 

One ingenious method of delivery I saw on National Geographic’s show Drugs Inc. is the use of mini submarines (shown below).  According to, these mini submarines can carry up to ten tons of cocaine or various other drugs worth millions of dollars.  One of these small submarines can be loaded off the coast of Mexico, Latin, or South America and be delivered in the United States in a matter of hours.  The cost of these submarines is relatively low compared to what the smugglers make per shipment, therefore, they are widely used and are disposable. 

Another ingenious method that has recently been discovered is underground tunnel systems.  According to more than one hundred drug tunnels have been discovered starting in Mexico and ending in several bordering states in the U.S.  Because of these tunnels, hundreds of tons of drugs can enter the United States every week.  These tunnels aren’t long either.  One tunnel that was discovered in Arizona was only fifty yards in length.  The cartels closely, and violently, guard the tunnels’ secrecy.  Typically, when one is discovered it is because someone within the cartel told authorities.