The problem of illicit drugs or narcotics, its manufacture, its use, and its transportation or trafficking across international borders is becoming a major world problem. With the rise in production of illegal drugs, the use of drug mules has become more common. This essay will explore briefly the impact of drug trade in the world economy, the definition of drug mule and its origin, how drug traffickers recruit them, the type of people who become drug mules, and how drug mules transport drugs across international borders. Also, the essay will look into how authorities apprehend drug mules and the penalties for transporting drugs as a drug mule.
Drug production and exportation has become a major source of income for some third world countries. Reid Smith pointed out in his 2008 article, A detailed history of the Afghan Drug Trade, that Afghanistan has become the world’s leading growth region for the poppy seed pods that yield the base opium gum, which is used to make heroin. Quoting the United Nations in 2005, Niklas Pollard pointed out that the annual worldwide illegal drug sales are greater than the gross domestic product of eighty-eight percent of the countries in the world. Jessica Calefati pointed out that in 2008 there were 10,530 seizures of illegal drugs by the United States Customs at airports and seaports in the New Jersey-New York area, and that by 2010, the number of seizures has increased by about 40 percent to 14,547. What Pollard and Calefati failed to mention in their various articles is the method of transporting the illegal drugs. International drug cartels use many avenues to transport their products across international borders, and chief among them are the drug mules.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a drug mule is a person who delivers or smuggles illegal drugs. It is a slang term derived from the usage of mules to carry burdens. A drug mule normally smuggles illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana across international borders. Jessica Speart pointed out that when it comes to transporting drugs, the methods used are only as limited as a smuggler's imagination. An illegal drug trafficker can use a man, a woman, a child, or an animal as a drug mule.
Drug traffickers scout for possible drug mules. They look for women who come from the poorest areas in society (Silva). Maureen Sheridan pointed out in her article that the poor women are easy prey for drug traffickers, who recruit in bars, and welfare offices with promises of good times and easy money. Sometimes, older women are forced to carry drugs out of desperation to survive economically (McClelland). Drug traffickers also look for women of different racial background to become their mules (Ruparelia). They commonly use people who have no families, usually between the ages of 18 and 23. This is because they need people who are young and gullible (Elton).
In a statement made by Olga Heaven in Habiscus, a charity for female prisoners in the United Kingdom, she pointed out that most of the women imprisoned in the United Kingdom had never touched drugs before. Many never traveled out of their countries, and some are not really educated to know and understand the consequence of smuggling drugs. Heaven stated that most of the women are lured into the drug smuggling with the promise of being able to afford food, clothes, shelter and money to pay for medical treatment in some cases. Heaven believes that educating women from poverty stricken countries about the danger and risks of smuggling drugs will decrease this activity (Tariq).
Most drug mules enter the business willingly because they are desperate for money. A holiday offer is often the first approach, followed by the promise of money. In 2005, nine Australians were arrested for importing drugs into Bali. These mules were not drug users. They were young and simply wanted to...