Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Professional Criminals are Smart

As this article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, but some, of course, are not; but I continue to be perplexed by the reality that most of the reentry programs being foisted on funding sources operate on the assumption that all criminals are not smart, one of reasons the programs have a pronounced record of failure, noted earlier on our blog.

An excerpt from the Atlanta Journal Constitution article.

“NEWARK, N.J. — The package surprised even veteran law enforcement officials used to seeing all kinds of contraband smuggled into prisons: It was a child's coloring book, dedicated "to daddy" and mailed to a New Jersey inmate, with crayon-colored scribbling made from a paste containing drugs.

“The discovery of the book last month prompted the Cape May County sheriff to warn others in law enforcement that smuggling techniques were reaching new levels.

“In Pennsylvania last month, prosecutors disrupted a prescription drug smuggling ring that was mailing narcotics into prisons concealed under postage stamps.

“And in Clifton, N.J., police once uncovered a drug-smuggling operation under the guise of an importer bringing fresh flowers from South America in cardboard boxes that, when shredded and mixed with a solution, dissolved into liquid heroin.

“Experts say even as surveillance equipment, airport scanning technology and cargo X-rays modernize, drug-smuggling techniques are keeping pace.

"It's a question of building a better mousetrap," said Deirdre Fedkenheuer, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Corrections Department. "Somebody's going to always try and think of a new way."

“It's been more than a decade since sending food to prisoners was prohibited, but today, drugs, weapons and cell phones still find their way behind bars, according to Fedkenheuer. New Jersey's prison system has added dogs trained not only to sniff drugs, but to detect the odor of cell phones as well, which are banned.

“It's not only prison smuggling that gets creative, according to U.S. Customs officials. Smugglers try all sorts of techniques to bring contraband into the country by air, sea and land.

“Smuggling drugs into the U.S. has been going on as long as there's been a market for illegal substances, according to John Saleh, a Customs and Border Protection officer based in New York.

"The drug industry, drug trafficking, is a billion-dollar or trillion-dollar business," Saleh said. "It's a business that makes money, so they're very cunning in their ways of masking something, or smuggling something in so they can make a profit."

“In the past two months alone, inventory confiscated at New York-area airports and ports included opium concealed in porcelain cat figurines, cocaine in bags of freeze-dried coffee, drugs built into the railings of a suitcase, sewn into pants, molded into sneakers, concealed in clothing hangers or packed into the console of a Nintendo Wii video game system.”