Cocaine is big business.
It’s worth $38 billion a year in the US alone and more than $80 billion globally. That’s roughly equivalent to the entire GDP of New Zealand, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan combined.
(Just imagine the kind of Eurovision song contest Azerbaijan could have hosted with that kind of money. An extremely good one. You could probably book Jedward, Paul Daniels and Tony Blair for that kind of dosh).
Obviously drug traffickers don’t have to pay any tax or import duty to governments which makes it an appealing import business for some in the criminal underworld. However the penalties if you’re caught are huge – in some countries the death penalty stands for certain drug related offences.
In fact it’s so high risk that smugglers devise all manner of sneaky techniques to get drugs in and out of countries. Tunnels are dug underneath the US/Mexican border, Meth Amphetamine is soaked onto postcards… one Columbian gang even tried implanting liquid heroin into live puppies.
* Shudder *
However, until now I hadn’t come across anything quite so ‘creative’ as this.
Nobanda Nolubabalo, a South African national, raised the stakes by using her dreadlocks to try and smuggle cocaine into Thailand.
She was arrested in Bangkok airport after officials noticed a peculiar white flecking in her hair. On closer inspection they found 1.5 kilograms of cocaine stashed in her dreadlocks wrapped in tubes.
She was reportedly hired as a ‘drug mule’ by a Thai based businessman in Brazil and had taken a flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Bangkok via Doha.
How much had she been paid? Just £1,200.
Apparently the street value of the cocaine was around £93,000…
Depressing stuff. This comes not long after a fellow South African was caught and afterwards executed for trying to smuggle 3kg of Crystal Meth through Ghangzhou, China.