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To not feel any sympathy for drug-smuggling women?

(593 Posts)
DarceyBissell Mon 12-Aug-13 17:42:45

Just that really. Two young women facing 25 years in a Peruvian jail for trying to smuggle 11kg of cocaine. Saw they described as 'vulnerable' in one paper. Hardly. Greedy and stupid though.

barbedgirl Tue 27-Aug-13 12:38:12

I don't think their lives will suffer so much because of this. It's not like they'd been working hard and were letting off some steam before setting off for university or career, or had dependents or whatever. They were party girls, vacuously hanging out with whoever supplied them with free drugs, over-treating their hair and aspiring to the high life. Maybe they'll learn Spanish in there and come out with a more serious attitude to life.

nkf Mon 26-Aug-13 18:25:20

Obviously there was a chance that they wouldn't get caught. Some parts of Europe are awash with drugs that have been brought in from somewhere. I wonder - does anyone know? - is it a bit of a numbers game? Send 20 carriers through. Expect half to be caught. That uses up all your custom officials and the other 10 get through. The mark up on drugs is so high that you can afford to lose half the product. Or some other combination of figures.

CarpeVinum Mon 26-Aug-13 18:22:21

That's why, Carpe, I have a sneaking feeling (based on very little logic) that the explanation that another even more massive haul was going through at the same time holds water.

If you wanted to pass through a couple of deals at the same time, why not use the frightened, easily caught, gullible foreigners to distract the attention of the police.

Of course there is another theory - again, completely made up with no evidence whatsoever, that the police in Peru needed a big haul to "prove" to the international community that they were doing something. I think there has been a suspicion for some time that the authorities in some of these airports are taking backhanders to let drugs through.

Late MIL's carers were a married couple from Peru, and they used to laugh at me when I muttered darkly about corruption in here in Italy. They seemed to think that it was significantly more of an issue back home. And all that you have described was alleged to happen on a regular basis in Thailand.

Plus there's the snitching to the police by the lower down in the food chain when in a sticky situation of their own. The tit for tat informing between competitors and rivals. The rank incompetence of embryonic drug-lord wannabes. And some people blab in their guesthouse, never imagining that somebody within hearing might tell somebody else, who might take exception and tip off the police what they are intending to do.

I think the "50 ways to come a cropper at customs despite all the promises it's no problem and everything has been taken care off" is worth mulling over by anybody tempted to consider being a mule. If somebody is prepared to be a gangter, or a drug lord then it's not really all that surprising that they might tell porkies, wildly understate risk, or even drop a mule right in the shit deliberatly if it suits their business purposes.

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 26-Aug-13 15:20:51

*taken off them by the drug men. the 3rd girl who fled Ibiza said she got a text from Melissa's phone saying she was ok but that she didn't think it was Melissa texting.

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 26-Aug-13 15:19:28

they didn't but they said in the statements their phones were taken off them. i'm not sure if you've seen it but Michaela's sister actually started a 'find michaela' campaign on facebook a few days before they were arrested as nobody had seen or heard from her in about a week and that she had been last seen in Ibiza working in a club as a dancer.

janey68 Mon 26-Aug-13 15:14:44

One thing which may have passed me by in the media, is did either woman stay in contact by text or email etc during the lengthy period of time when they allegedly were being coerced? It's hard to believe they would have done so without communicating to family back home that they were in a bad situation. Strikes me they must have had opportunities. Or are they claiming they were too scared to send any texts?

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 26-Aug-13 15:10:07

oh yes I agree and that was the only assumption we made, that someone had wanted to steal our valuables (mainly because every single person that was staying at our 'hotel' hmm had either been mugged on the stairs/halls or had their rooms broken into and burgled. we didn't even consider the drug issue at all- I only thought that could have been a possibility a few days ago. anyway, glad it wasn't.

and yes I wont be going back to san Antonio Ibiza. it's horrible quite frankly. I've heard that the family resorts on the island are lovely but not sure if I would venture back even for those.

janey68 Mon 26-Aug-13 15:03:34

More likely that someone was trying to steal from your suitcase than plant something in it. I think there's a genuine debate to be had about security levels in certain holiday resorts... Some of the places you read about make you shudder (and wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to go to them!)

As for these two women: those issues don't apply anyway; if their story is to be believed then they willingly got to know these guys and invited them back to their apartments etc .... Not that their accounts stand up to scrutiny anyway so all a bit academic!

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 26-Aug-13 14:54:06

yes that would be a bit silly wouldn't it clam. maybe they just were sick of wearing the same thing for so many days so swapped.

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 26-Aug-13 14:53:06

with regard to it acting as a deterrant, well it has actually scared the shit out of me at 27 years old of going back to Ibiza or anywhere similar. it took this story for me to realise just how lucky dfriend and I were to have got home safely last year, and there were two occasions we know of were people were in our room, once while we slept- I woke up, saw them, shouted and they fled. the other, they had tried to get into our suitcase whilst we were out, but they had actually jammed our padlock so we couldn't get the key in. I had to cut a hole in the lining of the suitcase through the front pocket and that's how we got our stuff in and out- it didn't even occur to us that someone could have planted something in our case to follow us home- we didn't even check. if we had been stopped at the airport we would have been completely oblivious to anything in there. stupid I know but we just didn't think to check, even though we knew there were drugs everywhere. I know this isn't what happened with these two but just explaining how I feel about the thing after this story.

clam Mon 26-Aug-13 14:51:22

I thought I read that they swapped clothes because neither one had any clean ones. hmm So why would you put on someone else's dirty ones?!

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 26-Aug-13 14:46:18

I noticed something in their statements in the mail. when asked if they had any opportunity to inform someone that they were being forced to carry drugs, Melissa answered no, but Michaela answered yes they had and described some of the opportunities they'd had to tell someone.

I swap clothes with friends (well friend- I only go with one) whilst on holiday so that in itself is not strange I just thought it odd and was trying to imagine a conversation between them in custody where Melissa says "oh I love your top Michaela, can I borrow it for the next time we go out?" grin it's probably something to do with them being given each other's clothes by accident after a shower or something.

janey68 Mon 26-Aug-13 14:26:15

Clothes swapping? Hadn't noticed that. I can only imagine its some sort of strange attempt to look as though they are supporting eachother, neither is going to drop the other in it or something

But I agree: they are going nowhere with the story they are recounting. They're obviously going to end up spending some time in prison. Doubt it'll be long enough to act as a deterrent though

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 26-Aug-13 13:55:00

cumfy I think the opposite. well actually I don't think either of them were a 'ring leader' (does two people make a ring?) I think michaella comes across as a bit giddy and the fact that they are going to be spending a long time in foreign jail doesn't seem to have hit her like it has Melissa. she seems to be quite aware of maintaining a 'pose' and a defiant stance with arms folded, whereas melissa just looks terrified, rabbit in the headlights. and I think that's because she has the wit to realise the seriousness of what they face whereas Michaela doesn't seem to have realised they're not going to get away with that story. obviously we have not footage/photos of them now they are actually in prison so that could all have changed.

also- why do they keep swapping clothes? one day Michaela is wearing white top and leather jacket, the next day Melissa is wearing it and Michaela is wearing her green top that is far too big on her.

PeriodMath Mon 26-Aug-13 13:46:20

But Maryz, either of your theories could be true but neither makes any difference does it? They knew they were carrying drugs, it seems unlikely they were coerced. The fact that there may have been an element of "set up" behind the scenes doesn't alter the facts.

Maryz Mon 26-Aug-13 12:59:05

That's why, Carpe, I have a sneaking feeling (based on very little logic) that the explanation that another even more massive haul was going through at the same time holds water.

If you wanted to pass through a couple of deals at the same time, why not use the frightened, easily caught, gullible foreigners to distract the attention of the police.

Of course there is another theory - again, completely made up with no evidence whatsoever, that the police in Peru needed a big haul to "prove" to the international community that they were doing something. I think there has been a suspicion for some time that the authorities in some of these airports are taking backhanders to let drugs through.

There are so many possibilities. Including that the girls knew exactly what they were doing and were just conscience-less money grabbers. I suspect we will never know.

cumfy Mon 26-Aug-13 12:46:57

Havung watched the footage of them very carefully I get the impression the dark haired girl is a completely different kettle of fish to the other.

I thought this too ......

But I think that McCollum is the "ringleader".

janey68 Mon 26-Aug-13 11:15:28

Reviewing how messages are conveyed to the susceptible is valid- and indeed, necessary, periodically. But a balance needs to be maintained, and excessive hand wringing and scrutinising of why oh why did these two women agree to carry drugs is IMO misplaced.

Unfortunately there will always be some people who won't take on board the message- and this applies to other crimes such as drink driving too. Whether its a feeling of invincibility, an inability to connect the dots and see the consequences for other people, not coping well with being outside their usual social context or just being plain thick.. or more likely a combination of all these factors and more... The reality is that these women won't be the last to be in this situation. It happens with depressing regularity, and is often high profile in the media. That last point is pertinent: it often strikes me that the accessibility of the media for young people today means that can never be any 'excuse' of not having heard the message. (Not that it would be an excuse: I knew when I traveled as a teenager many years ago in pre-Internet days that you don't carry unknown luggage for anyone.)

Maybe some people think that sounds harsh, but I think it's realistic. It doesn't matter how you convey the message, or how often you do it, there will always be some people who ignore it- whether that's because they're gullible, or idiots or anything else. It brings to mind the various campaigns against drink driving over the years... Some have been more successful than others- which is why reviewing how information is conveyed is important- but no campaign has completely eradicated drink driving because unfortunately there is a minority who for whatever reason choose to ignore the message

Actually the parallel with drink driving is one which makes a lot of sense to me. Yes, these women have severely fucked up their futures, but my sympathy lies more with their parents and with others who may be impacted by it. For all we know their extended families could be fearful for themselves and their children right this minute. All that stuff about the families being threatened... Whatever the truth of it, it's a shit situation for everyone connected to those two women. And that's quite aside from the whole despicable drugs industry and the damage it causes both directly and indirectly.

CarpeVinum Mon 26-Aug-13 10:54:55

Anyway, there are so many poor, desperate and gullible people willing to drug smuggle, I find it hard to believe that an international crime ring would target and kidnap these two, fly them through two international airports, threaten family who are thousands of miles away (where their cartel is at best weaker if not wholly non existent) and march them around forcing them to pose for happy photos before loading them up with 11kg of cocaine. Even drug barons like an easy life. They coukd have got a local to do it, probably for less than the cost of the flights to Peru for the pair of them.

That's why I don't find it hard to believe they were first timers.

It's always a risk that even an originally willing mule will back out at some stage, even with threats that it's too late now and there will be pay back if they don't follow through.

Two terrified, wholly unwilling and utterly unprepared mentally young women chosen at random via kidnap pose a much bigger risk of calling attention to their plight. Either deliberately or by accident by visibly falling apart at the seams under the noses of the authorities, due to extreme stress and trauma caused by the various crimes being committed against them for an extended period of time.

Wouldn't practiced (or even better prepared first timers) have a less "please suspend all logic" explanation as to why they had kilos of drugs in their bags?

hermioneweasley Mon 26-Aug-13 10:21:11

I've been thinking a lot about this case. They were caught with such an enormous amount of drugs on them, I wonder if they had successfully smuggled before, and that it why they were trusted with such a valuable quantity. Woukd you really risk £1.5m (or whatever it was) worth of cocaine on two women with no track record? I guess you need visas to visit Peru or woukd at least have a stamp in your passport, so possibly not if they'd not been before.

Anyway, there are so many poor, desperate and gullible people willing to drug smuggle, I find it hard to believe that an international crime ring would target and kidnap these two, fly them through two international airports, threaten family who are thousands of miles away (where their cartel is at best weaker if not wholly non existent) and march them around forcing them to pose for happy photos before loading them up with 11kg of cocaine. Even drug barons like an easy life. They coukd have got a local to do it, probably for less than the cost of the flights to Peru for the pair of them.

CarpeVinum Mon 26-Aug-13 10:10:02

because they have an inbuilt "that won't happen to me" belief

Which in the case of drug smuggling probably isn't entirely unfounded with a "probably" stuck in front of it.

More goes through than gets stopped. And I guess if they are seeing and talking to numbers of people flush with money, or having freed themselves of a tight spot and made all the scary go away .... their own sense of invincibility plus confirmation from several people who have BTDT and come through scott free, overrides any serious twinges.

If that is the reality they are seeing, for those inclined to be further along the scale of feeling invincible and highly optimistic, whether the motivation is it for easy money or getting out of a fix, it's going to be quite persuasive.

I just don't know what, if anything, could combat that element in the more susceptable. I don't know how you get through to the overly optimistic minded that their role is that of a pawn, not a player, and as a pawn they are inherantly vulnerable to being deliberatly sacrificed. Which is a risk factor on top of being the one caught when routine searches hit paydirt.

Maryz Sun 25-Aug-13 22:36:46

Sadly, ime a lot of teenagers read the fucking Daily Mail, or at least its website. Thus getting a xenophobic, racist, bigoted, misogynistic view of life angry

Shock tactics don't really work for teens. We can see that with all the road safety ads, for example, and the anti-drink/drug messages. They have no effect at all on those who most need them, because they have an inbuilt "that won't happen to me" belief which doesn't seem to disappear until they are about 25.

CarpeVinum Sun 25-Aug-13 22:23:30

As I understand it shock tactics raise anxiety levels in the "not most in need of hearing message" group, but it doesn't translate into changes of personal behavoir.

But I could be well out of date. I read it a good while ago.

And it's a good point that the younger generation communicate in soundbites and via different channels so perhaps TV wouldn't be the best medium.

janey68 Sun 25-Aug-13 20:41:47

The social media used by young people is full of shock horror links to the daily mail and such like! I doubt many people sit and read the daily mail cover to cover any more (apart From my MIL maybe!). Youngsters in particular pick up messages in soundbites these days

yellowballoons Sun 25-Aug-13 20:25:26

How many youngsters read the daily mail, or any newspaper for that matter.
Read Mumsnet? Virtually none.

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