(My opinion about drug smuggling on yachts.)
A while ago, I saw the movie 'Blow' on the television again.
You know... it's the movie where Johnny Depp plays an American cocaine smuggler who builds a whole drug empire which brings him a fortune.
The story is based on true facts.
I think it's a very good movie and I do recommend it to you, if you haven't seen it yet.Click here or on the image to watch 'Blow'!
Anyway, the film reminded me of the people who smuggle drugs with their boat.
Years ago, when I did yacht deliveries, I met a lot of captains and crew. Several boats were lying ready in port and needed to be delivered to their specific destination. Everybody was busy preparing their yacht and, in the evening, we all gathered around the dinner table at the local restaurant. As you can imagine, a lot of good sailing stories were told over the nice food and excellent wine. One story was already more incredible than the other one.
Apart from our sailing adventures, we also liked to talk about our dreamboats. Of course, nobody had the funds to actually go buy that yacht.
It didn't take long before somebody mentioned funding his dream through drug smuggle. Without a doubt, this was mentioned as a joke and we all had a good laugh with it.
Indeed, it sounds so easy. Let's pick up some special cargo, sail it to some place and, just as easy, you get a load of money and that's that! No more working anymore!
Now, as far as the joke goes, I never met or knew somebody who did this.
Then, a few weeks ago, I came across a book where a woman talks about her drug smuggling adventure in her sailing boat.
'Wow', I thought... you don't see too many of these!
Of course, I picked it up and read it in one evening...
The book tells the story of Bridget, an English woman, who got seduced by the easy money. At that moment, she was pretty much broke, while trying to make a living as a yacht delivery captain.
It all happened in the early eighties, when the yachting industry was still very small and not regulated. You would find a job, just by being in the right place and through the people you knew. The money with moving somebody else's boat was very little...
So, to get a bit further in life, she agreed to pick up 2 tons of marijuana in her 40 foot sailing boat. She had to bring it from Colombia to the west side of the United States of America.
After loading the illegal cargo, the boat was packed with bales of marijuana. She and her boyfriend Charles literally had to sleep on top of those bales! Just imagine...
Now, I don't want to tell you the whole story (you have to read it for yourself), but it's a great read to see how it works in reality and to read about all the stress and problems they had. In the end, the money was like a big carrot in front of their eyes, so they kept on going to get the cargo delivered, even when they sensed that something was out of place.
Unfortunately for them, they got caught and from then on, misery took a start. They are picked up by the Mexican Navy and are thrown in the infamous Mexican jails...
Yes, gone is their freedom and no money at all. That's the bet you take!
When you read the book, you'll notice that half of the book is about how she ended up doing the drugs run, the preparation and the delivery itself, the other half is about her life in prison.
The book is one of a kind, since not many drug smugglers write about their special adventure...
After reading it, I think you'll agree that Bridget is not a criminal, but somebody who just took the wrong decision to think you can get easy money without any risk. I think her mistake is a very human one.
But, drug trafficking is a serious crime and lots of countries have special forces to track drug boats down.
From time to time, you hear that officials stop a yacht with marijuana or cocaine onboard.
Drug smugglers use sailing boats or motor yachts to deliver the goods. They can be in the form of a fishing vessel, a speedboat or even a luxury yacht. Sometimes they try to hide the goods in some ingenious places, where nobody would expect it.
The last thing I've read about it, is that the routes are becoming too obvious. Boats are going from South-America or the Caribbean to North-America or Europe to sell the goods at huge prices. The officials know this also, of course, so now the drug traffickers are using submarines that are able to do the whole trip underwater. These drug subs are sophisticated machines that can load up to 20 tons of cocaine! Very hard to track...
So, lots of money involved in this risky business.
That's all just one side of the story.
The other side is that the drug smugglers think completely selfish. They don't care about all the misery that is connected with these hard drugs that are very addictive.
Lots of people get addicted to it and begin to do other kinds of crime to fund their need for drugs. Not to mention the lives and families that it ruins.
End of story: altough the money sounds fantastic and you can live as a king or queen in some paradise, it could bring you in a lot of trouble! As sailors we have to stay far away from drugs. It's the worst you can do for your future. Much better to sail around as free as a bird and with piece of mind!Click here to read 'Sailing Into The Abyss: A True Adventure Story'!
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