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8/10/13

How not to smuggle cocaine out of Peru

Catching up with the news, your humble scribe comes across this story in The Graun (or if you prefer, the same story as reported by Peru national media in Spanish here) of one Michaella McCollum Connolly, a 20 year old nightclub hostess who was the centre of one of those internet search parties after going missing from Ibiza for 12 days, only to turn up arrested at Lima International Airport trying to smuggle 11kg of finest marching powder out of the country (oh wait, I'm supposed to put the word "allegedly" in there somewhere, but screw that) along with her 19 year old pal.

Ok, that's the backdrop and you can now bet that the two girls are going to spend a tedious few years locked up in the women's prison system in Peru, basically for being really freakin' stupid. Which brings me to the point of the post: IF YOU ARE REALLY SET ON SMUGGLING COCAINE OUT OF PERU, DON'T FLY OUT THE COUNTRY FROM ONE OF ITS AIRPORTS. First up, you know that "oh it's third world backward there they don't have a clue" thing you hear about Peru? Well, when it comes to its customs police force at airports, forget it. The sniffer dogs are highly trained and plentiful and it's unlikely you even get to immigration or the x-ray machines before you're stopped, searched, arrested and thrown in the can if you're carrying cocaine, because they'll get you in the queue at the check-in counter way before that happens. Second, they really like arresting cocaine mules at Lima airport because it makes for a great show and gives them the "look, we're doing something about this" argument. It's easy fodder for the police and they're good at it. They're no good at stopping coca leaf cultivation, crap at controlling the areas in which cocaine is produced and pathetic at stopping tonnes of the white stuff from leaving overland (esp thru the Brazil or Bolivia corridors), but a few kilos stopped from leaving the country via the easy way out? All good.

Therefore, if you're daft enough to be considering the risk/reward balance on this subject and read this post, stop right now. Do not try to smuggle cocaine out of Peru, period. Go do some honest work for low pay for a while and that way you'll get to stay the fuck out of some rather unpleasant jail cell on the outskirts of Lima. The way it's done properly requires large-scale bribery to the right hands and party political alliances, not some solo player chancing it. You are extremely unlikely to qualify on those counts.