The 6 Most Insanely Reckless Smuggling Tactics

Wherever you have borders, you find very motivated people trying to sneak shit across them. Of course, said borders are typically guarded by equally motivated people with guns whose only job is to stop them. Winning that battle requires planning, creativity and guile. Or at least a smuggler who really, really doesn't give a shit.

#6. Pot Catapults


The border fence between the United States and Mexico proves to be a bit of a challenge for some smugglers. Tunneling underneath it is a possibility, albeit entirely too difficult for the average drug mule. They could dynamite a hole in it, or drive a car straight through it (or dynamite a car while it's driving through it), but that's pretty much guaranteed to get the attention of every Border Patrol agent currently on shift. Really, the whole enterprise was much easier back when the border was just a painted line and the honor system.

Well, marijuana smugglers along the Arizona-Mexico border decided to go for the kind of solution that a 5-year-old would have thought up: They built a catapult to launch 4-pound bales of pot straight over the top of the fence like Morgan Freeman and Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

They could probably do a better English accent than Costner, too.

Well, we're assuming they were smugglers. It's either that or they're invaders who badly misunderstand the fundamentals of siege warfare.

If you think we're making all this up (and we will not hold that against you), check out this surveillance video shot by the U.S. National Guard, who were evidently too stricken with delighted whimsy to put down their cameras and enforce the law:

Sure enough, the video shows a few guys in an SUV towing the above catapult up to the border fence and firing a few bales of weed over:

"Let's light one of them on fire, it'll be goddamn hysterical!"

And if you're like us, all you can imagine is a bunch of stoners camping on the other side, watching as 4-pound bundles of weed start raining down from the sky as if in answer to some bong-fueled prayer. Then you're picturing them telling the story at every party they attend for the next 30 years, and everyone refusing to believe them.

#5. Narco Torpedoes


Bringing in new shipments without getting busted by the Coast Guard is a problem the drug cartels have been dealing with for some time, as documented by every single action movie of the 1980s. One of the newer tricks of the international drug trade now involves the use of something called a narco torpedo, which sadly is not quite the cocaine-packed sea missile of detonating happiness it sounds like.
"Please tell me you guys didn't find this up someone's ass."

It's actually a watertight container loaded with product that is towed behind a smuggler's boat directly into port and into the hands/noses/veins of eager consumers. At the first sign of the Coast Guard, the smugglers can simply cut the torpedo's towline and let it sink harmlessly to the ocean floor to be eaten by whales, simultaneously absolving them of any illegal activity and drastically changing the third act of Pinocchio. Assuming their employers don't freeze them in carbonite for dumping the shipment, the smugglers are free to try again and again.

One day whales will pay for being complicit in these crimes.

Another variation of the method involves welding the torpedo to the bottom of a vessel, occasionally without the knowledge of the crew, thereby creating unwitting drug mules with no exploitable connection to the organization should they be caught by the authorities. Once the ship arrives in port, cartel divers remove the torpedo from the hull and recover the product, and the crew is none the wiser. Although if all of the VHS research we did in the '80s is to be believed, an accidental discovery probably results in chainsaws, shotgun blasts and F. Murray Abraham dangling from a helicopter.

#4. Crystal Meth Sculptures


Despite what the "cookin' up fun" montages on Breaking Bad would have us believe, making crystal meth is pretty goddamned hard. The raw materials are extremely hard to come by, and failure often results in more than just an unsellable batch -- meth labs regularly explode like flaming pinatas full of hand grenades and high school dropouts. Sometimes it makes more sense to just buy the stuff and smuggle it in.

Unfortunately for would-be smugglers, meth is one of the more difficult things to conceal, as it is high on the customs watch list. That's why an Iranian meth smuggler bound for Thailand decided to take a lesson from Cheech and Chong's instructional document Nice Dreams and disguise his drugs as something else, in this case as two plaque-sized relief sculptures. One was a framed portrait silhouette, and the other was a 22-pound brick of crystal meth with a flower carved into it.
Actual photo. You can smoke this.

Despite tap dancing on the verge of being clever, this particular technique failed almost immediately, because it is important to remember that there is such a thing as drug-sniffing dogs and chemical screening X-ray machines, and that customs does not consist of one bored guy glancing at your luggage as you walk past.

"Yep, looks like a laptop battery to me."

The man was taken into custody when trying to enter Thailand, although the arresting customs agents did admit that they admired the smuggler's originality. They showed their dubious admiration by placing the man in a Thai prison, a phrase which here presumably means "they beat him with reeds and dropped him in a lightless pit."

Of course, not all smugglers are dealing in narcotics ...

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