June 20, 2008

Mother and daughters caught smuggling drugs into U.S.

Mother and daughters caught smuggling drugs into U.S.
Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:05pm EDT

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - A Mexican woman and her three American daughters have been caught smuggling $1.16 million worth of cocaine into Texas from Mexico, a rare case of a mother and her family trafficking drugs, U.S. customs said on Friday.

The four women stashed the cocaine under their clothes and inside their 2006 Mercedes Benz and tried to cross through the Brownsville, Texas entry port from eastern Mexico.

A sniffer dog alerted customs agents to the smell of cocaine emanating from the car and agents also noted unusual bulges under their clothes, finding cocaine packages on three of the four women.

"This is the first time in Texas we have faced a mother and her daughters smuggling drugs like this," a U.S. customs and border protection spokesman said.

The four women, who live in Brownsville, tried to escape back to Mexico but were quickly arrested.

As the Mexican military fights drug gangs in Mexico and the United States increases security along the border, traffickers are going to greater lengths to conceal small amounts of drugs, like in sealed beer cans or in car engine parts.

Unlike in the past, when smugglers were single men, drug cartels are also turning to people of all ages and walks of life, U.S. customs and border protection officials say.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott, Editing by Frances Kerry)

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