Meth Burritos and Other Ways Drugs are Smuggled into the United States

By Seth Ferranti 05/27/16

From meth burritos to fake carrots, drug smugglers will stop at nothing to keep their drugs flowing into the US. 

Meth Burritos and Other Ways Drugs are Smuggled into the United States
Meth-filled burritos with salsa. Photo viaUS Customs and Border Protection

Just last weekend, U.S. border agents near Nogales, Arizona, caught a 23-year-old woman trying to smuggle two burritos full of methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico. Despite being wrapped in tortillas, the meth—valued at more than $3,000—was detected by a drug-sniffing dog. Apparently, some were not impressed by the scheme. Gizmodo wrote, “To be honest, the whole thing seems pretty low-effort. Try harder smugglers.” But truth be told, these kind of smuggling attempts more likely than not go undetected all the time.

“Simplistic and low key smuggling methods work all the time,” John, a convicted drug smuggler doing 20 calendars in the federal Bureau of Prisons tells The Fix. “I did it for years by just basically putting it right in front of customs agents' faces. It was too obvious for them. If not for the dogs, they wouldn’t have gotten this girl.”

When John was out in the late 1990s, it was a different world for smugglers. He would pack kilos of cocaine in his suitcase and check it through baggage on the airline. He’d mail boxes of marijuana by freight or second-day air into the states, only wrapping the pot in Saran Wrap and shelf liner paper, with Bounce dryer sheets to throw off the dogs. Oftentimes he’d drive down to Tijuana and bring back kilos of heroin hidden behind the door panel of his Chevy truck.

But nowadays, it seems that drug smugglers are getting real creative. Post 9/11, smugglers have been coming up with all kinds of smuggling techniques. If it’s not coming in through fake carrots, its coming in by drones, or in massive underground tunnels. This innovation and ingenuity make the drug-sniffing dogs necessary for stopping shipments at the border, as proved in the burrito case.

But even though this time they were caught, I wonder how many mules have successfully made the crossing with tweaker burritos? Because with consumption rampant in the states and legalized marijuana all the rage, the cartels will continue using new methods to bring in meth, heroin and cocaine as they try to keep their coffers full of U.S. dollars.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.