The border between Texas and Mexico is a finish line of sorts for drug cartels trying to smuggle their wares into the country. From crystal meth and heroin to marijuana and counterfeit pills, there is no shortage of illicit substances coming up from south of the border and into the United States via Mexico and Texas.
In an effort to stem the flow of drugs smuggled in from South America, there are round-the-clock guards at every US-Mexico border crossing with law enforcement officials standing at the ready to stop random vehicles. The methods that smugglers employ to get past the gates and the guards are extreme and often laughably unbelievable. No longer are people simply stuffing bricks of heroin or crystal meth into fake tires and throwing them in the trunk.
Here are some of the most unusual ways that people have attempted to smuggle different substances across the Texas border:
- More than 60 pounds of liquid meth, worth an estimated $1.2 million, was seized along the US-Mexico border. Because it was liquid, smugglers got creative and stored the drug in horse shampoo bottles.
- Border Patrol agents found more than they expected in a shipment of strawberry jam from Mexico. Rather than being stuffed with preserves, the vats were loaded with 6,500 pounds of marijuana.
- In January 2017, the biggest crystal meth bust on the Mexican border took place: 21 packages containing a total of $2 million in meth were discovered under the dashboard of a Volkswagen Jetta. Though not necessarily disguised in an unusual way, it was an unusual bust due to the huge amount of drugs found.
- At the other end of the spectrum, the sheriff’s office in King County reported a seizure that was significantly tiny in size. In this case, the drugs were intricately wrapped and packaged as chocolate candies.
- Smugglers try to bring drugs across the border in vehicles of all kinds – the more innocuous, the better. And what is more innocuous than a minivan? In this case, not innocent-looking enough. Border officials stopped one minivan, and an inspection revealed more than five pounds of cocaine hidden inside with an estimated value of $500,000.
- Hungry? A couple of guys crossing the border brought with them what appeared to be a couple of burritos for lunch. When the two packages were investigated by agents, however, it was found that those two burritos were in fact containing about a half-pound of meth each.
- One smuggler transported bagged carrots along with his drugs. When border officials inspected the shipment, they found bundles of marijuana wrapped in orange plastic bags designed to look like carrots and stuffed in among the real thing in an attempt to avoid suspicion. In total, the shipment contained more than $1 million worth of weed.
- Apparently, the carrot trick was not as unusual as it may originally seem, as others have used produce disguises to transport drugs. Late last year, officials discovered 2,500 pounds of marijuana when they searched a vehicle seized in Pharr, Texas. The drugs were hidden inside bags that had printed pictures of limes on them.
- Smugglers tried again with the veggie disguise, hiding 766 pounds of marijuana among real broccoli in a shipment headed into the United States. Border patrol officials were not as averse to the vegetable as the smugglers might have hoped.
- At the Pharr International Bridge, border patrol officials uncovered 615 pounds of methamphetamine when they searched a commercial shipping truck. The drugs were camouflaged as cleaning supplies.
While many drugs are discovered and seized before they can come into the country, many more manage to get through without a problem. For drug cartel kingpins, the loss is one of the costs of doing business. It demonstrates how much they are making on the drugs that do get through security that they continue to take the risk and lose so much product.
For families struggling with addiction in Texas, this proximity to a never-ending stream of illicit substances can be deadly. If someone you love is struggling with addiction, support local law enforcement as they do their job and connect your loved one with treatment services that will help them heal.