Duct tape, diapers, and drug mules


U.S. Customs agents recently busted two women at JFK airport who were caught smuggling numerous kilos of cocaine in thick “diapers” made of duct tape.

While this certainly wasn’t the first time someone has used diapers to try to smuggle contraband — including actual, real-life diapers on actual, real-life babies — it does provide an impetus to think about drug runners.

When it comes to drug mules, the sky’s the limit when it comes to where and how they’ll hide the goods. Remember to always be thinking outside of the box (or the boxers, I guess!) during your encounters, regardless of whether or not they’re initially drug-related.

Does something look out of the ordinary with someone’s clothing or the way they’re holding themselves? In the case of the diaper-smuggling duo at JFK, at least one of them was reported to have been noticed walking oddly.

How about someone’s behavior? Are they too nervous about a simple speeding ticket? Are they making it clear they can’t end their discussion with you quickly enough? How about simple stories that don’t jibe?

Contraband discovery tips are innumerable, and we’ve shared scores in the past, but the bust at JFK serves as a reminder that the hunt can never stop and the need to be ultra-observant and ultra-curious is constant.

As you’ll note, we will have a special emphasis on drug interdiction during the month of February, so if you have any tips or ideas to share, please email me.

Stay safe out there my friends. 

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he as appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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