Bug smuggling is big business

36CE3CEC-B163-443A-A28D-5DB4E875A67B

Demand for exotic pets and collectors’ items drives a flourishing illegal trade in beetles, spiders, and more.

SPECIAL AGENT RYAN Bessey was in his office at the New Jersey branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in Galloway, on September 23, 2015, when he took a call from a colleague in the intelligence unit. The analyst told him that French customs officers had seized 115 emperor scorpions in two shipments from Cameroon. They were addressed to a man in Metuchen, New Jersey, named Wlodzimie Lapkiewicz.

If French authorities considered the bust important enough to tell the U.S. about it, Lapkiewicz was worth looking into, Bessey thought. He began to do some digging.

Continue reading… “Bug smuggling is big business”

0

My career as an international blood smuggler

IMG_9200

For years, Kathleen McLaughlin smuggled American plasma every time she entered China, home to the world’s largest and deadliest blood debacle. She had no other choice.

I started my decade-long turn as an international blood smuggler in 2004 with a mundane task: packing. I gently stacked a dozen half-liter glass vials into two soft-sided picnic coolers. The bottles held the components of a syrupy mix, a powerful medicine made from the immune system particles collected from thousands of people. A nurse would infuse the syrup into my veins, a treatment to keep my immune system under control, to halt its potentially paralyzing attacks on my nerves.

Continue reading… “My career as an international blood smuggler”

0

Chinese police foil drone-flying phone smugglers at Hong Kong border

IMG_6117

Dozens of high-tech phone smugglers have been apprehended by Chinese police, who twigged to the scheme to send refurbished iPhones into the country from Hong Kong via drone — but not the way you might think.

China’s Legal Daily reported the news (and Reuters noted shortly after) following a police press conference; it’s apparently the first cross-border drone-based smuggling case, so likely of considerable interest.

Continue reading… “Chinese police foil drone-flying phone smugglers at Hong Kong border”

0

Palestinian prisoners smuggle sperm out of jail

Suhad Abu Fiad gets a prenatal ultrasound at a clinic in the West Bank city of Nablus.

During a routine sonogram, Suhad Abu Fiad immediately tears up at the sight of her unborn baby’s tiny feet and fingers. She’s hoping for a girl but, as she’s only four months pregnant, it’s still too soon to tell.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading… “Palestinian prisoners smuggle sperm out of jail”

0