It sounds as an invented story but the problem is that we live in year 2013 with social networks where even strangers can investigate family members and friends. Because the criminals are also operating internationally they can very easy arrange for a little traffic accident back home so parents, siblings and other extended family can be hurt if the tourists are not following the instructions from the criminals. If you while you were on Holiday were presented with photos of your nephews, siblings, parents etc. would you be able to decide whether the photos were taken from a social network, Instragram or Google Street View or the result of a person back home who has taken the photos when stress are added because they even put a gun to your head?
No of course not! You have to follow their orders!
Because police has become better catching smugglers, an operation are often done in group where the criminal masterminds expect to lose some of the drug mules. In this case they expected the two women to be caught so other smugglers using the same plane could carry drugs in larger quantities while the police were busy taking photographs of their catch for the media.
The real smugglers may not even be other passengers. In Copenhagen Airport a criminal group of baggage handlers were caught who operated with baggage handlers in other countries.
These girls were setup not when they arrived in Peru but the very minute they decided to leave for a holiday. Employees at the hotel would very easily be able to give contact information for every guest to the criminals so they can start to Google their victims and give the impression that they have been selected as drug mules after months of investigation. Remember that when you book a hotel or pay with your credit card, you give criminals a lot of information they can use searching for personal information about your beloved family members back home.
We are no longer anonymous when we arrive in a foreign country. Due to the Internet it is very easy to find out about everything not only about yourself but also about your family.
What can you do to keep yourself safe?
- First and foremost - set all social networks of your entire family to private before you leave for holiday. In fact does it before you order the tickets because a recent case in Denmark proved that criminals were informed by employees at the travel agencies which houses were empty for certain periods. We don't know who employees at the travel agencies work with. We don't know who the employees at the hotel abroad work with. Don't become a victim by giving up any information in advance.
- Second - avoid destinations where the criminals are known to work. Ibiza is such a place. Romania is another. They spike drinks so you can drink more putting your health at risk.
- Third: If they get you, end your life or try so they get the impression that you are mentally instable. They cannot use a drug mule who acts out. If you are caught the prison standard will kill you anyway even if you get off with a prison sentence as short as a few months. Your family will have to pay for your protection inside the prison - even the food. The criminals have friends inside and if you have told anything but your name they will kill you and the police will not be able to protect you and in fact they have little interest in your life because they have got their 5 minutes of fame when they caught you.
There are no longer drug mules who do it for money. 10-20 years ago a lot of students saw it as their only chance to get their student loans paid. Recent studies have showed people that studying long and hard doesn't pay unless your social heritage allows your to get your education paid fully, so the dropout rate in Denmark are now 20 percent and it is just as the Danish Industry want because they believe that too many get their high school diploma compared to the jobs available. It leaves drug mules who are pressured into crime and because it is a lose-lose situation regardless of the choice people make it is safer to avoid traveling abroad at all and if it cannot be avoid then to set up precautions so you don't end up as a victim.
- Gang 'run by nephew of rock star Phil Collins recruited British drug mules' accused of trying to smuggle £1.5m of cocaine out of Peru (The Daily Mail)
- Rejsebureau-ansat bag indbrud hos kunder (Ekstra Bladet - article in Danish)
- Lufthavnsansatte anholdt for heroin-smugling (Jydske Vestkysten - article in Danish)