Drug cartel attempts to disguise weed as watermelon

June 23

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped a suspicious tractor late last week transporting million-dollar watermelons.

It’s too bad it wasn’t a new, exquisite type of watermelon being transported, but marijuana disguised as watermelon instead. Fox News reports a Mexican drug cartel picked up a nifty skill in crafts class, painting packages of marijuana to look like watermelon.

The ruse probably would’ve worked if the tractor had not been stopped south of Tucson.

The watermelon trick isn’t exactly original.

And agents were suspicious of the supposed fruit in the back and used X-ray imaging to confirm that the fruits were actually leaves.

The Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of the marijuana and the tractor. The value is estimated to be in the millions, but officials are still determining the street value and total weight of the marijuana, Fox News reports. The driver of the truck is also in custody, officials told Fox News.

“These criminals use a lot of unique ways to try to conceal their narcotics,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Bryan Flowers told Fox News. “We’ve seen individuals use false compartments in the seats and gas tanks.  We’ve also found marijuana in tractor trailers here before.”

Though law enforcement won this round in the never-ending battle against drug trafficking, University of Pittsburgh professor Michael Kenney chalks it up to what he calls “competitive adaptation” – the changes in strategy both law enforcement and drug cartels make with each drug bust and innovation in drug detection.

A cartel will learn how to avoid a run-in with law enforcement after a failed smuggling attempt, but that will only last until law enforcement is able to find a new technique to foil smuggling attempts. And so on.

But this attempt to traffic marijuana was not even the most creative way in which weed has been disguised as watermelon. In April 2010, agents discovered 9,500 pounds of weed hidden in a load of actual watermelons that probably looked way more convincing than the painted blobs in the most recent bust.

 

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