The moral? Best to stay away from temptation.
Three men are in custody in what police say was an international drug ring, smuggling cocaine inside surfboards from Uruguay to Europe.
According to counter-narcos, dogs sniffed out six surfboards leaving Carrasco International in Montevideo on May 23. Upon secondary inspection, police noted the boards’ unusual weight. After a quick pinata party, 51kilos of cartel candy spilt out. Operation Iris, it’s named.
Officials allowed one of the boards to make its way to Portugal where two Italian nationals were arrested attempting to claim their baggage. A third man was popped in Italy.
The Uruguayan prosecutor’s office highlights the bust as proof of success in the global war on drugs, calling the transatlantic operation “a model of international success.” Uruguay, Spain, Italy, and Portugal took part in the bust.
Uruguayan National Police Director Jose Manuel Azambuya stated, “Operation Iris is unprecedented in our country because of the scope and significance of international cooperation.”
Yet surfboard stuffing is nothing new as a delivery method in the small pharma biz. Rainbow Surfboards (McCabe, Hynson, et. al.) were the mavens, stashing their particulars in foam and fin to extend their Indo fantasies. It went South as drugs tend to do that sorta thing to business and businesses and family and whatnot.
Most consider drug harvesting, smuggling, selling, partaking, etc. a sick practice. Others may be ambivalent, having blood somewhere dried under the fingernails. (For a wide-eyed analysis, read Cocaine and Surfing: A Love Story.)
And some may think it romantic,(and certainly more appealing than trafficking a bloated, balloon-filled mule) where lean, sunglassed figures float in and out of airports, siphoning fear with breezy talk at check in, nothing but pure adrenaline pumping through the terminal. Every small move building into a play. Those flawless and free characters we read about, the true magicians.
Adam Gopnik, in his book “The Real Work,” describes such mastery as a “slow carpentering of fragments into a harmonious whole.”
“Mastering” certain things, Gopnik explains, “relies on learning to pretend what you’re doing isn’t incredibly dangerous.”
And dangerous it is as reality has not been kind to the practice. As many have tried, many have failed. Some notables:
• 1994. Frank de Castro Diaz. Denpasar Airport, Bali. 4 kilos in 2 boards.
The give away? Frank also checked a saw.
• 2011: Three men. Bilboa Airport, Spain. 50 kilos in 9 boards.
The give away? One month prior, fools were busted for shipping coke in Manolo
• 2014: Jesse Edgardo Herrera, of Pomona, LAX, California. 3 kilos in 1 board.
The give away? According to TSA, fresh glue permeated from board bag.
And so many other stories of failed magic. You may have your own. The moral? Best to stay away from temptation. Hell, my boy’s on Oahu and my girl in Kihei. I’m scared to bring 4 oz. of Colgate in my carry on.