If you try to sneak something past border security and get caught, then you're not a particularly good smuggler. But some smuggling failures are way worse than others, like this half-hearted attempt on January 10 to hide more than a ton of marijuana inside thousands of fake carrots. It's not unusual for people to try to smuggle drugs (or people) alongside produce, but it's definitely different to totally circumvent the actual produce part and just create your own veggies, as these guys tried (and failed) to do at the border near Pharr, Texas.
The bundles are orange and vaguely carrot-shaped, but it's obvious to anyone who's ever seen the real root vegetable before that these are uninspired impostors. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents weren't fooled, and seized the 2,817 packages with an estimated street value totaling $499,000.
“Once again, drug smuggling organizations have demonstrated their creativity in attempting to smuggle large quantities of narcotics across the U.S./Mexico border,” Port Director Efrain Solis Jr. said in a press release. “Our officers are always ready to meet those challenges and remain vigilant towards any type of illicit activities.”
This was a lame attempt at smuggling. But was it the lamest? Here are some other weak tries to illegally transport things in and out of Texas:
"Sneaky Smuggler Stashed Methamphetamine In Tennis Shoes" - CBP press release, July 2015.
What are those? CPB should give this smuggler a little more credit — those aren't even tennis shoes, they're brand-name Air Jordans. They are also stuffed with massive packages of narcotics. What's next for these shoe-based smugglers? Crocs? Also, let's take a moment to recognize that pun, "Sneaky Smuggler." Apparently CPB can be pretty funny when it isn't shooting to kill.
"Woman Charged After Doughnut Ploy Fails" - Lone Star 92.5, January 2016.
Just a few weeks ago, a woman was caught allegedly attempting to carry cocaine past the Falfurrias checkpoint in South Texas. A federal complaint described, in extreme detail, the driver's doughnut-related antics:
Once the vehicle was stopped, the agent greeted the driver with, "How are you doing, Ma'am?" [She] just nodded her head up and down, as she was attempting to eat a doughnut. She appeared to be nervous. Her hands were shaking profusely as she was holding the doughnut in her hand. She was attempting to cram the entire doughnut into her mouth.
[CBP agent] tapped the spare tire and it felt unusually rigid.... [then] cut into the tire and several bundles could be seen. The bundles were removed from the tire and cut into revealing a white powdery substance which later tested positive for cocaine.
Well, I guess it wasn't just powdered sugar. Anyway, it appears as though this alleged smuggler's fatal mistake was suspiciously shoving that sweet pastry into her mouth. You've got to expect law enforcement officers will be paying extra attention anytime a doughnut makes an appearance. Should have just stayed cool and saved it for later, or perhaps even offered the guy a bite. It's not like border patrol agents haven't been bribed before.
"CPB Intercepts Tamales With Cocaine Filling" - CPB press release, August 2014.
The culinary creativity continues. Is there some sort of underground "Iron Chef" competition specifically for drug smugglers? Maybe. Everything from carrots to cucumbers to tomatoes to tamales has been used to cover up drugs. This attempt, caught at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, was unsurprisingly unsuccessful.
"30 Pounds of Pot Found Inside Pictures of Jesus" - CNN, February 2010.
Jesus, Mary Jane and Joseph. Smugglers won't stop at anything to get their product across the border. Pretty soon they'll be turning water into weed.
"This is not the first time we have seen smugglers attempt to use religious figures and articles of faith to further their criminal enterprise," William Molaski, then-port director for CBP in El Paso, said in a 2010 press release. "What some might find offensive or sacrilegious has unfortunately become a standard operating procedure for drug smugglers."
Two years earlier, a drug-sniffing dog in Laredo discovered a six-pound statue of Jesus made out of plaster and cocaine, according to Reuters.
The 2010 press release said a drug-sniffing dog named Caesar found the marijuana in the Jesus paintings. So smugglers, take note: When you're up against a canine named after an ancient Roman leader, then your Jesus-themed narcotics shipment is probably doomed.
"CBP Halts Human Smuggling Operation in a Cloned Border Patrol Vehicle" - CBP press release, December 2015.
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If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, or at least pretend to.
"To a casual observer, the cloned vehicle appeared to be a law enforcement vehicle conducting official business, but to the observant Border Patrol agent something was not quite right," CPB wrote in a press release.
What could have tipped them off? Probably the 12 people awkwardly crammed inside the car: