For those of you who do not share my unceasing passion for “Poldark”, I should perhaps explain that Mr Trencrom runs a major smuggling operation and recruits Ross Poldark (or, more accurately, Ross Poldark’s cellar) to hide Frenchie’s brandy from the excise man. In other words, today’s post is about smuggling. It all sounds rather “Treasure Island”, but news releases from SOCA and elsewhere show that physically transporting illicit substances from one jurisdiction to another is a criminal enterprise that is alive and well – and don’t they show some imagination?
In June 2009, for instance, SOCA managed to bang up five men who had been caught smuggling 75% pure heroin into the UK: they concealed 16kg of the stuff inside straws that they then threaded through rugs imported from Afghanistan. Piling it on a bit thick, you might say. (Apologies.) And in July of this year, two brothers were jailed for tricking a woman into receiving heroin concealed within packages of weightlifting belts sent from Pakistan. The UK Border Agency likes to publicise the most unusual drug concealment locations that it has encountered. Its officers have found, for instance, cocaine hidden in powder form inside hollowed-out yams sent from Ghana, and concealed in liquid form in two bottles of Baileys carried by a man travelling from Trinidad and Tobago. They also discovered cannabis worth almost £3,000 in the frame of a painting of footballer Emmanuel Adebayor, sent from his native Togo. But my personal favourite has to be the “plaster” cast made of cocaine. In March 2009, a man flying in from Chile was arrested at Barcelona airport after police sprayed the cast on his leg with a chemical that turns bright blue when it comes into contact with cocaine. And his leg genuinely was broken – probably done deliberately to help with the smuggling. Now that’s suffering for your art.