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Drug trafficking in South America: Easy cash? Easily caught!

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released a new video warning of the dangers of trafficking drugs.

It never ceases to surprise us the number of people who get caught up in illegal drugs across the world. Travellers can be particularly susceptible to the lure of ‘easy money’ and can allow themselves to be persuaded that this is a low-risk high-reward way of extending the travel budget.

Travellers often leave on a fixed budget and once they see the amazing experiences the world has to offer, are desperate to extend their travel. If they can’t access funds, the lure of getting involved in activities which are sold to them as full-proof ways of making extra money quickly, can seem irresistible.

We must re-emphasise the message that any interaction with controlled and illegal drugs in any part of the world carries unacceptable risk, is illegal and must be avoided. Remember those people who tell you about these ‘opportunities’ are not your friend, they are not ‘doing you a favour’, they are only interested in maximum gain for themselves and passing on all the risks to someone else; you. They are part of organised crime which ruins large parts of the world, undermining governments and countries alike, causing unlimited misery to local populations.

As far as drug traffickers are concerned you are a disposable asset; not a friend, not a colleague, not someone they are trying to help, but just a mule. If you succeed their mule brings them a big pay day and if you get caught, they will not give you a second thought.

The penalties for drug trafficking vary across the world, generally anywhere from life in prison to the death penalty. If anyone tells you differently or tells you that that foreigners are treated more leniently than locals; don’t believe it. Often the exact opposite is true, foreigners are given harsher sentences because local judges want to make an example of them.

To be fair even the lightest sentences in most foreign jails will ruin a life. Many foreign jails are dangerous places, overcrowded, violent, disease ridden and not fit for humans; you will be thrown in with the general population in cells with many times the number of people they were designed for.

The rule when it comes to any interaction with drugs is simple; don’t associate yourself with drug users, don’t use drugs, don’t buy drugs, don’t deal drugs and do not smuggle drugs!

If you are still in any doubt watch the FCO Video and see what happens when people do.


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Source – Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) 

Date – 18th October 2010

Submitted by – Peter Mayhew