Thursday, 31 May 2012

The 'narco-babies' phenomenon

Ready to cross, Ceuta-Algeciras
ALGECIRAS The crisis has undoubtedly brought about a certain amount of ingenuity, just to survive; or 'necessity is the mother of invention'.  Also true, however, is that those who in better times enjoyed a good life without doing much work for it, are now more than ever inclined towards easy money. Put the two together and you get people scurrying over to the first ferry to Morocco, buying the merchandise and coming back across. The number of these people is well on the increase, of which the various security forces are well aware. Specially those at the ports of Ceuta and Algeciras. The pressure is on, and so is the imagination of the 'importers'. The 'mules' (called camellos, or camels in Spanish) continue to risk their lives suffing their innards to cross the straits in the hope of not being detected. Some carry their load in their stomachs, others in other parts, and now it's their babies that carry the load.>>>
The Guardia Civil at the customs in both those ports have noticed an increase in ingenuity. In just under a month they have found drugs hidden in baby carriages, with babies inside. A total of six people have been arrested and over 13 kilos of hash confiscated. But it's not just babies, either: smugglers are using a growing number of underage children as well, knowing that minors are less likely to be prosecuted. One such case, caught on May 16, had a 20 year old Ceuta resident trying to smuggle 4 kilos in her eleven month old baby's pram. With her, too, was a teenager who was carrying 2.2 kilos attached to his body.

There is also an increase in drug traffic, say the police, at the ports of Tarifa and Algeciras, which have already seen an upward swing of 20% in 2011. 'Narco-babies' are here as well. One couple resident in Huelva, he Moroccan, she Polish, tried to bring in almost 3 kilos in 297 hash capsules sewn into the lining of their baby's pram.
Worth pointing out, though, is that these small amounts will not change the camello's life, as the police have said. The profits are small but the jail time they incur is long. And the organized gangs behind them stay out of jail but make the profits. A kilo of hashish has a street value of about €1,500, but a good chunk of that stays in the filthy hands of those who contract the mules. Rather than sort out their financial problems, the mules could se them increase tenfold.

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