UK Border Force Says Mules Are Taking Greater Risks To Smuggle Class A Drugs

UK Border Force has said that drug mules are taking increasingly greater and more dangerous risks in order to smuggle large quantities of class A drugs like heroin and cocaine into the country. Reports of recent arrests include details of individuals swallowing as many as 110 packages in order to get them through customs without being detected.

According to border officials, mules, who earn an average of between £1,000 and £1,500 per trip, are also using an increasingly complicated array of packages and devices to help them swallow the drugs while some are taking dangerous actions, such as avoiding going to the toilet for days or weeks on end. A single split package could prove fatal, if the individual does not receive urgent medical attention, while border security are using a greater variety of techniques and devices to help identify those passengers and travellers that are carrying drugs in this way. In the past 12 months, Border Force has seized nearly 9,000lbs of class A drugs.

Class A drugs are big business, and organised gangs and crime rings use drug mules as a means of transporting substances like heroin and cocaine over the border and into the UK. Many gangs coerce or threaten individuals to make them carry the drugs, but others pay as much as £1,500 per trip, depending on the number of packages that the individual is willing to carry. In most cases, carrying a package of drugs means swallowing drugs wrapped in condoms, balloons, or just in cling film.

In one recent case, a 51 year old man was stopped at customs and found to have ingested nearly 1kg of high grade heroin. He was paid £11 per package swallowed, and the total haul had an estimated street value of around £150,000. Jaroslaw Adamski was given a four prison sentence for his part in the attempted smuggling, and said that he had been approached by a man in his native Poland to transport the drugs.

In another worrying case, one man survived on a sip of water a day and avoided going to the toilet for a period of several weeks before making the crossing. He also ate the skin of a single apple each day, in order to try and avoid rupturing the packages, and to help avoid detection. However, Border Force say that they are not only able to use x-ray scans, but they can also test for chemicals that the body secretes when drugs and packages have been ingested, in order to help them identify travellers that are breaking the law.

Most mules attempt to pass through customs at major airports, but some attempt to use the train and ferry crossings. Immigration minister James Brokenshire has said that officials are not only there to check passports, but that they are to ensure the safety of passengers and to prevent drugs and other banned items from getting across the border.