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Half the Heroin Seized in South Florida Smuggled by Poor in Their Stomachs


June 1993

Half the heroin seized by drug enforcement authorities in South Florida last year was inside the stomachs of poor Colombians, according to the Miami Herald (Rachel Swarns, "Colombia's Poor Lend Stomachs To Drug Trade," Miami Herald, 5/9/93, 1A).

For poor Colombians, the risk of death is balanced by the low probability of arrest and high pay. Smugglers receive about 5 percent of the average $100,000 per pound price of heroin. In 1992, U.S. Customs inspectors caught 92 swallowers, carrying 109 pounds of heroin. A total of 218 pounds were seized that year. By May of this year they had caught 52 swallowers. Four swallowers died in Dade County, Fla. last year from burst heroin packets.