Swallowing Drug Money

December 11, 2018 Crime , OTHER




Ricardo Swire



New patterns indicate both Latin and South American drug traffickers have accelerated the deployment of human drug mules that swallow money, contained in latex capsules, as a novel means of cash movement to Mexico. The evolutionary technique was highlighted on December 6th when Colombia’s Office of the Attorney-General, the Directorate of Taxes & Customs (DIAN), in concert with US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), conducted synchronized operations in Bogota, Bucaramanga, Manizales, Medellin, Neiva and Pereira.


“Operation Link” agents targeted four multinational foreign currency trafficking syndicates, connected to a network of Mexican drug cartels and Colombian traffickers in Bogota. Among twenty-seven detainees were human drug mules that swallowed eighty to one hundred and twenty capsules while transporting US$40,000. Occasionally as much as US$75,000 was swallowed, depending on the courier’s health rating and body type. Individual latex fingertips carried no less than five US$100 notes.


The male and female recruits ranged from twenty-five to thirty-five years of age. On arrival at Colombia’s El Dorado International Airport a twenty-six year old woman met and transported them to a hotel owned by a syndicate member called “Cat.” Operation Link’s intelligence mechanisms assisted Colombian Judicial Police with the cash smuggling network leader plus twenty-seven of his recruiters and logistic coordinators arrest.


“Pinocchio” or “The Teacher” was top-boss. He personally received the couriers on arrival in Mexico. “Isabela” the trafficking network’s cash cleaner, responsible for recirculation of the money in the formal economy, via legitimate property and land purchases. Operation Link agents intercepted forty-nine of the network’s money couriers at El Dorado International Airport. Six passports, airline tickets, four folders with business related documents, thirteen mobile phones, two electronic tablets and US$2,700 cash were seized.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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