|“Don’t Be A Drug Mule “|
By: Luis Carlos Sainz /Nov 2017
Mothers of families, often poor, become “human mail carriers”, traffickers of the derivative of opium, ie heroin. They are arrested with the drug in double bottoms of suitcases, attached to the body, in their footwear, or in the vagina. About 70 percent of the secured heroin and criminal cases against “chiva” traffickers on commercial flights in the country are registered in Baja California. Women heroin transporters get, on average, 10-year prison sentences. Three sisters imprisoned at the end of 2015 were strangely acquitted.
As soon as she got off the plane, she was greeted by the icy January wind on the border. She went to
get her suitcase from the baggage area and hurried to the exit. The slim, white-skinned lady -like her name- drew attention for her wide striped skirt in black and gray tones, her black scarf and her multicolored suitcase, but above all, for her peculiar way of walking. She took short, wide steps.
A federal surveillance policeman in the air terminal flanked her front and informed the woman that he wanted to ask her some questions. She lowered her eyes, and dodged, tried to continue her march as if she had not heard the agent. The uniformed officer repeated his direction and the woman agreed. Although nervous, the lady was cooperative and talkative. He identified himself with his Issstecali credential.
“What is your name? How old are you? Where are you going ? Where do you come from? How much did your ticket cost you? “, the officer asked. “I am 42 years old, I live in San Luis Río Colorado and I come from Mexico City. I went to a friend’s wake. Her husband called me and came to the airport for me, “said Dona Blanca. “What is the name of your friend’s husband? How did he contact you? What did you pick up in that city? ” The officer’s chain of questioning continued.
The woman stumbled. “Well, I actually found out that my friend died, through Facebook. Had cancer. I don’t remember the name of the widower. A friend sent another friend of his for me, and he took me to the hotel.” She could not continue with his answer.
Her throat closed. Her eyes reddened and were wet. She was visibly trembling, and her voice broke when she said: “Help me Sir, I am in a very difficult economic and sentimental situation. My two youngest children are in school and I do not have a job. “
“Do you bring any illicit substances ?” The agent asked with the same reasonable suspicion that had motivated the interception. “Yes. I bring drugs hidden under my clothes, between my legs, “the woman replied collapsing. With the classic “follow us” and reading the woman the card of rights, the police took her to the agency of the Federal Public Ministry to resolve her situation.
In the PGR facilities of Mexicali, female staff accompanied the woman to the bathroom, where she extracted, from between her panties and lycra shorts, a package wrapped in cinnamon tape, and deposited it in a yellow envelope that had been provided. The package contained one kilo 500 grams of a pasty substance of dark brown color, with the characteristics of heroin. An expert in forensic chemistry confirmed that it was the enervant.
Because of these events, Blanca has been deprived of her liberty in a state prison for nine months, at the disposal of the judicial authorities of the New Criminal Justice System. First, a Control Judge issued a writ of attachment to the trial, and then the magistrate of a Unitary Court confirmed the ruling. She is on remand for her probable responsibility in crimes against health, in the mode of transport of diacetyl morphine hydrochloride, better known as heroin.
If she does not prove her innocence, the woman will face a minimum sentence of 10 years, or maximum of up to 25 years in prison, in addition: one hundred to 500 days fine. It is what establishes the sanctions of the Federal Penal Code for those who produce, transport, traffic, trade, supply or prescribe any of the narcotics listed in a catalog, including heroin, prohibited by the Mexican General Health Law.
70% of cases in BC:
Blanca is just one of the so-called “mules,” used by drug traffickers to transport drugs aboard commercial flights, from one geographical point to another. There are, moving marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, codeine and of course the popular heroin, a drug that is wreaking havoc on the health of Americans, according to the authorities of that country.
There are dozens of men and women who, during the last decade, have been discovered transporting the opiate through the air terminals of Baja California, near the border with the US, the International Airport “Abelardo L. Rodríguez” in Tijuana and the “Roberto Sánchez Taboada”, in Mexicali. They also arrive in private planes with clandestine landings in Ensenada and Tecate.
In the case of women, such as Blanca, it is common for the authorities to discover their role as “mules” on commercial flights that arrive at this border. They are also discovered, less frequently, at the Chihuahua airport, and even more rarely at the Sonora and Sinaloa terminals. Strange the lack of assurances of this drug in Tamaulipas and Coahuila, where there will be one or two processes.
ZETA had access to 95 cases or criminal cases filed in federal courts in the country against people linked to various criminal modalities related to heroin. The result is impressive. In 66 of the cases, they know courts of the Fifteenth Circuit of the Council of the Federal Judicature (CJF), with residence in Baja California, which includes bordering municipalities in the State of Sonora, such as San Luis Río Colorado.
The investigation was reduced to the mode of transport, and even more, it focused on passengers of both sexes who arrive at the two airports mentioned, with emphasis on the situation of women.
Profile of traffickers:
The “aeromulas” are indistinctly men and women. The figures are very even, there are 51% women heroin traffickers on airplanes, and 49% are men. This is clear from the data obtained by Zeta in ten final judgments and in fourteen other cases, even under active criminal proceedings, because they are events that occurred in the last year. In nine cases the sentences were condemnatory. And in one, acquittal for three accused in a single criminal case.
The women involved are usually between 22 and 45 years old, although most are around 40 years of age. They belong to a medium-low socioeconomic level, with petty income, an average level of secondary education and a work activity as employees or traders. In some cases unemployed. Many of them claimed to be heads of family, with children still dependent on them.
Although in the majority of cases they do not accept their responsibility of committing crimes, when they do, the women do not give up their contractors. They do not even know what criminal organization they serve. National and North American authorities primarily suspect the Sinaloa Cartel. Today prisoners became “human couriers” in exchange for money, transporting heroin in four primary ways:
– Adhered in strips or pretending to be part of your body.
– In the insoles, sole or heel of your footwear.
– Backpacks or suitcases conditioned with double bottom or lining.
– Inside the vagina.
The Federal Police and the Mexican Army, and occasionally private security elements of the airports, unmask the traffickers when they manifest nervousness. They also have take into consideration the city or region of origin and the planes that land from those places.
Based on the repetition of actions, it is known that the cities that pose a risk for the transfer of heroin in this modality are: Acapulco, Guerrero; Morelia and Uruapan, Michoacán; Guadalajara, Jalisco; Tepic, Nayarit; Culiacán and Los Mochis, Sinaloa. And stellarly, Mexico City.
The security techniques most used by law enforcement officers in the Tijuana and Mexicali air terminals are:
– Emotional profile of the passenger.
– Pitazo (anonymous report).
– Dog trained in the detection of drugs and explosives.
Pretexts and sentences:
Before the Public Prosecutor’s Office, 99% of the detainees said they were not aware of the incidents. The list of excuses of men and women apprehended with heroin within their scope of action is extensive.
María Luisa “N” arrived in Tijuana on a Volaris flight from Guerrero. As she passed her suitcase through the X-ray machine, the screen marked an orange box. It was discovered a secret compartment where there were 2 kilos, 140 grams of drugs. It was heroin and codeine. In her defense, the woman told her captors: “The suitcase is not mine, they lent it to me in Acapulco to travel here.” Her crime corresponds the highest penalty, because of the sentance for transporting two different drugs, she was sentenced to 15 years in prison. All in all, others condemned in recent times received the minimum sanction of 10 years in prison.
Two women and two men were arrested in the air terminal “Abelardo L. Rodríguez” for having drugs attached to their bellies, inside socks; packages containing seven kilograms of heroin. The women said they were surprised because they were offered a tip in their native Uruapan to take money to a “comadre” in the United States. “I thought it was money, I never imagined it was ‘chiva'”, expressed Alicia “N”.
Gloria “N” is a 44-year-old passenger who arrived with her daughter at the Mexicali airport on an Aeroméxico flight from Mexico City, with a stopover in Guadalajara. A sergeant and a cavalry soldier intercepted her for questioning. Because of the fright, she forgot or intentionally denied her address.
She was transferred to an office, where, voluntarily, she delivered a package wrapped with yellow latex that she carried in her vagina. There were 550 grams of heroin in the bundle. The lady said that when leaving the capital of the country, during the stopover in the “Pearl Tapatia”, two women who sat on both sides of the plane got on the plane. At one point “one of them said she felt bad and asked me to go to the bathroom with her. There she forced me to put the package in my vagina, threatening that she would hurt my daughter if I refused her and that they would be watching me. “
Another passenger who was carrying diacetyl morphine in a significant amount inside her genital cavity denied possession of the substance. “They locked me in a private room of the Federal Police where I was examined and they told me I was bringing drugs, which is not true. They took my cell phone and threatened to take my children away, torturing me psychologically, “she says.
The detained men also offered arguments:
Joel, who carried 739 grams of heroin in the insoles of his shoes, said: “These tennis shoes were given to me at the airport in Uruapan. I felt strange, but I did not check them. ” Raymundo, with two kilograms of the same enervant hidden in a backpack: “I did not bring the drug. I would have been detected at the airport in Guadalajara. ” While Edgardo argued that in Culiacan, some subjects assured him that he was a “maña” and, if he did not transport the 402 grams of heroin that were found in his shoes, they would kill him or one of his relatives. And Sidronio, coming from Mexico City, declared: “I bought the suitcase at the capital’s airport, but I did not know that I was bringing drugs.”
On December 13, 2015, an unprecedented case occurred. Three sisters of Guerreroian origin landed in Tijuana on board a Volaris plane . They had left from the Acapulco airport. Very determined, the three placed packages wrapped with heroin, inside condoms, inside their genitals and allowed to come to the border. Two kilos of the opiate well distributed.
It was 10:20 am when the federal agents assigned to random checks in the Baggage Claim area saw the three brunettes arrive. One of them was gesticulating and flexing with abdominal pain. One of the policemen asked her if she needed medical help. One of the women answered for the afflicted, “it hurts between her hip and her belly.” The mannerisms alerted the officer on duty and he commented on the situation to his colleagues.
They supported the woman to the corporation’s office in the airport unit. Her discomforts were increasing. Before a series of questions, one of the girls confessed that the three of them were carrying wrapped drugs in their vaginas and, mortified, she interceded for her sister, because “she feared for her health and her life”.
In a private room, a noncommissioned female officer supervised the extraction of the packages of each one of the implicated women, which they complied with voluntarily.
The protocol that is followed regularly by the feds ended with the delivery of the confiscated drugs and the chain of custody belongs to the Public Ministry of the Federation. The women were admitted to the Tijuana Women’s Social Reintegration Center, where a District Judge prosecuted them for crimes against health, in the form of heroin transportation, on December 20, 2015. The order was confirmed on appeal by a Unitary Court.
The three sisters had private defenders and promoted an indirect amparo trial against the resolution that kept them deprived of their liberty.
On May 31, 2016, the circuit magistrate granted them the protection of federal justice and ordered the responsible court and judge: Leave the act unclaimed (order of formal imprisonment). Issue a new resolution in which they revoke the order of good prisoners issued to the complainants, and instead, decree an order of liberty for lack of evidence to process without the reservations of Law. Dictate their immediate and absolute freedom.
What happened? The amparista magistrate argued that the officers of the Federal Police did not comply with the formalities of the procedure: “in order to safeguard the physical integrity and life of the incriminated, at the moment of the extraction of the evidence, for which the authorities ” say” they brought in their vaginas.”
“In fact, it was overlooked that any bodily intervention is prohibited, unless you have the consent of the affected party and, in the case of ordering that practice, you must take care of danger to the health of the alleged, in addition, such corporal intervention must have been practiced by a specialized expert (doctor) and research personnel, respecting the dignity and privacy of the person; and in the presence of a medical emergency team in a health center or nearby hospital that guarantees the least risk to the health of those involved. It has only been assumed that the defendants brought the drugs in their vaginas. “
The magistrate consulted Google and added to his sentence of amparo the transcript of an article published on June 13, 2014, in the digital version of the newspaper La Nación , of Argentina, which is entitled “How to handle the process by which drug- mules expel the drugs ” ; located in this hyperlink: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1699049-como-es-el-proceso-por-el-que-pasan-las-mulas-para-expulsar- the-drug.
The policewoman denied having assisted in the extraction of the drugs from the private parts of the accused. News publications did not report it either. The case seemed to be exactly similar to other detainees in similar cases, with similar investigative methods, most are still in prison, some condemned, others prosecuted.
The three Acapulco sisters were released, during the court proceedings they testified : “The officer of the Federal Police made us undress, put on some gloves and checked our vagina without finding anything.”
Now they can boast that they are the only “aeromulas” exonerated in very strange circumstances.