A man crossing the border at the Port of San Luis has been arrested for attempting to smuggle 38 pounds of methamphetamine into the United States. According to a news report, the meth is valued at close to $600,000. The method allegedly used by the man to bring the drug into the country may sound a bit unusual, but similar ways of smuggling are now being used regularly. In this case, the meth was, according to police, hidden in a compartment that was built inside a gas tank. The suspect was arrested after a drug detection dog located the stash in the man’s pickup truck.
Those attempting to bring meth into the country have been using similar, and even more unusual ways of hiding the substance on its way across the border. Last month a woman was arrested for concealing a pound of meth wrapped in black tape (and a condom), which was then place “inside her body.” Police say they discovered the presence of what they thought were drugs during a pat down search, and that the meth was later surgically removed by a physician.
You may wonder why, given the potential penalties, people would want to risk crossing the border with the drug, as opposed to manufacturing it here. After all, unlike heroin and some other substances, all the ingredients can be found locally. The answer is probably a combination of factors, including the risk of detection on the local level. But another factor may be that in Arizona, and some other states, methamphetamine laws are significantly harsher than those applicable to other drugs. If you manufacture meth in this state, for example, and a minor is injured during the manufacturing process (burns, explosions, etc.), a defendant is looking at a mandatory minimum of 13 years in prison. The penalty could be as high as life imprisonment, which would carry with it a minimum period of incarceration of 35 years. And that’s for someone with a clean record!
We’ve pointed out in the past other ways in which the law treats methamphetamine. For example, Arizona law provides that in most cases, probation will be possible after a conviction for personal possession of drugs. But in the case of methamphetamine, probation under A.R.S. 13-901.01 is not permitted.
However you look at it, though, the financial rewards of the illegal drug trade are such that we can expect more unusual, if not ingenious, smuggling methods to crop up on a regular basis.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004