drug smuggling

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The Cocaine Saved Them. Then It Got Them Busted

Suspected drug smugglers found clinging to bales in Pacific after boat overturns

(Newser) - They can thank their drug bundles for both saving their lives and possibly ruining them. ABC Australia reports that three men from Colombia were plucked out of the Pacific over the weekend after spending hours in shark-filled waters. The alleged drug-runners, who were said by authorities to have departed from... More »

Feds Find 4 Tons of Pot in Shipment of Jalapeños

California's black market is still thriving

(Newser) - An attempt to smuggle marijuana mixed in with jalapeño peppers didn't fool a K-9 unit at the Otay Mesa cargo facility in San Diego, authorities say. The pooches found pallets of pot and peppers Thursday in a tractor-trailer driven by a 37-year-old Mexican citizen, Customs and Border Protection... More »

Is That Your Real Hair, or Are You Smuggling Drugs Under a Bad Toupee?

$33K worth of cocaine was quickly spotted on nervous guy arriving in Spain

(Newser) - A nervous-looking man flew from Colombia to Spain with what authorities there describe as an "oversized" toupee beneath his hat. Beneath that hairpiece was roughly a pound of cocaine bundled up and stuck to his head, according to police in Barcelona, who shared before and after images of the... More »

In Wild Video, Coast Guard Member Leaps Onto Drug Sub

'This is as satisfying as it gets'

(Newser) - Stunning video shows just how far the US Coast Guard will go to stop suspected drug smugglers. The minute-long video released Thursday shows a member of the US Coast Guard Cutter Munro jumping onto a semi-submersible vessel carrying 17,000 pounds of cocaine worth $232 million in the East Pacific... More »

Trail of Cocaine-Laden Ship Leads to JPMorgan Chase

Bank fund owns the MSC Gayane, but doesn't have operational control

(Newser) - The cargo ship seized in the Port of Philadelphia last month with nearly 20 tons of cocaine aboard isn't owned by a ruthless criminal gang hiding out somewhere, or by organized crime bosses pulling the strings from their prison cells. It's owned, more or less, by JPMorgan Chase.... More »

He Was to Fly With Brazil's Prez —Then Came Luggage Search

Airman accused of smuggling cocaine into Spain ahead of G20

(Newser) - A promise to curtail drugs and crime helped Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro get elected last year—hence why NPR reports the arrest of a member of his G20 party is so embarrassing. Brazilian Air Force Sgt. Manoel Silva Rodrigues—serving as flight steward on a military plane en route to... More »

Ship's Cargo Was $1B in Cocaine, Feds Say

Officials call it one of the biggest busts in US history

(Newser) - Federal authorities have made what they called one of the largest cocaine busts in US history: 16 tons of the drug, worth more than $1 billion. The haul was seized Tuesday from a cargo ship, the MSC Gayane, at the Port of Philadelphia, the Inquirer reported. "This amount of... More »

Biggest Drug Bust in 25 Years Made at NYC-Area Port

'Dried fruit' shipment held $77M in cocaine

(Newser) - Customs agents have seized the biggest shipment of cocaine recovered at the ports of New York and New Jersey in 25 years. US Customs and Border Protection says 3,200 pounds of the drug in 60 packages were seized at Port New York/Newark on Feb. 28, the AP reports. The... More »

Woman Finds Out High Heels Are Bad Drug-Smuggling Aid

Missouri's Denise Woodrum is headed to an Australian jail

(Newser) - A Missouri woman was sentenced Thursday to 7.5 years in jail in Australia, where she'd traveled with various cocaine-stuffed items, including a pair of high heels. Denise Woodrum, 51, pleaded guilty in January to the illegal import stemming from her arrival at Sydney Airport last August with 756... More »

Officials: Man Paid $390K for Old KFC, Used It in 'Conspiracy'

Drug tunnel discovered under it

(Newser) - A 600-foot tunnel was discovered leading from under a bed in Mexico to the kitchen of a former KFC restaurant in Arizona—and authorities do not believe a fast food aficionado was responsible. Authorities say the cross-border tunnel was used to smuggle drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, the... More »

Veterinarian Allegedly Turned Puppies Into Drug Mules

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges stemming from 2005

(Newser) - A veterinarian pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to US charges that he implanted liquid heroin in puppies to turn them into drug mules for a Colombian trafficking ring, the AP reports. Andres Lopez Elorza appeared in federal court in Brooklyn after being extradited from Spain, where he was arrested in... More »

She Documented Her Exotic Trip on Instagram, Now Heads to Prison

Mélina Roberge sentenced to 8 years for drug trafficking

(Newser) - "She wanted to be the envy of others," said an Australian judge of Mélina Roberge. There's little to envy now: The 24-year-old was on Wednesday sentenced to eight years for drug trafficking, in a case that involved $20 million of cocaine, an exotic cruise, and social... More »

'Terror on the High Seas': the Coast Guard's Floating Prisons

Fishermen carrying drugs from South America detained on US vessels for days or weeks

(Newser) - Seth Freed Wessler wrote a story last week for the New York Times that he describes to PRI as one of "real terror … on the high seas": what amounts to "floating Guantanamos" in the Pacific, Coast Guard cutters sent far from US shores to bust smugglers trying... More »

Fugitive 'Cocaine King' Finally Messes Up After 23 Years

He now faces 30-year sentence in Italy

(Newser) - A fugitive Italian crime boss is in custody after 23 years on the run following what seems to have been a major slip-up: Authorities in Uruguay say 50-year-old Rocco Morabito, once known as the "cocaine king of Milan," was found after he used his real name to enroll... More »

Canadian Bike Cops Nab One of America's Most Wanted

Katay-Khaophone Sychanta may face extradition to US

(Newser) - Montreal police have just earned a heap of respect for bicycle cops everywhere. Two cycling police officers were patrolling a Montreal bike path last Wednesday when they spotted two men they suspected of having drugs, police say. The suspects took off running and the officers pursued, one eventually jumping off... More »

Border Agents Watch as Drone Flies 13 Pounds of Meth Into US

Agents recovered the drone and drugs and arrested a 25-year-old man

(Newser) - Looks like automation is impacting everyone's livelihoods, even drug smugglers. The Los Angeles Times reports Border Patrol agents arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of importing a controlled substance Aug. 8 in California after watching a drone carrying 13 pounds of meth fly over the border fence from Mexico.... More »

'Cocaine Cowboy' Arrested After 26 Years on the Lam

Gustavo Falcon disappeared before being indicted for drug smuggling

(Newser) - The "last of the Cocaine Cowboys"—on the lam for almost exactly 26 years—was finally arrested Wednesday while on a 40-mile bike ride with his wife, the Miami Herald reports. During South Florida's "Miami Vice era," Gustavo Falcon allegedly helped his brother, kingpin Augusto... More »

Worker Makes $434K Find in Plane Flagged for Maintenance

Yes, that's cocaine

(Newser) - Authorities say 31 pounds of cocaine that was accidentally discovered stashed in the nose of an American Airlines aircraft in Tulsa, Okla., is worth around $434,000. Tulsa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Justin Green says the plane arrived in Miami from Bogota, Colombia, on Sunday. It was flagged for... More »

Customs Busts 53-Pound Snail Statue Stuffed With Meth

'Mexican stone crafts'? Um, no

(Newser) - Customs and Border Protection officials say officers in Cincinnati intercepted more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine that was concealed inside a statue of a snail, reports the AP . Authorities say the package, sent from Mexico and labeled "Mexican stone crafts," contained a decorative snail statue that exhibited "... More »

Man's New Car Starts Rattling for Very Illegal Reason

A cautionary tale on buying drug-smuggling cars seized by cops

(Newser) - A northern Kentucky man bothered by a rattle in a car he'd recently bought at an Ohio auto auction has found 2 pounds—or about $130,000—of heroin in a secret compartment inside the vehicle, reports the AP . "We went out to dinner one night and the... More »

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