Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Middle-Class Women Are Paid to Run Drugs, U.S. Agents Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Middle-Class Women Are Paid to Run Drugs, U.S. Agents Say

Article excerpt

For nearly two years, drug dealers have been using women from Long Island, N.Y., as couriers, paying them as much as $10,000 to carry heroin, cocaine and marijuana into the United States, federal drug agents say.

The agents disclosed the investigation as they sought late Wednesday to arrest three suspects in the case, which already has produced about a dozen arrests since September.

"We're talking about drug dealers deliberately recruiting young women . . . at up to $10,000 a trip, because they would not match the profile of drug couriers," said Arthur Scalzo, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Long Island office. "And it's surprising how easy it is to recruit because of the large amounts of money involved." Although women have been used as drug couriers before, DEA agents said, this ring is the first they know of to have systematically recruited and used women for the job. Agents said most of the women chosen as couriers were in their 20s with middle-class appearances. Most were single, but many had children; some had jobs, and others were on welfare, the agents said. The women were recruited at bars and parties around Long Island and were chosen because their appearances would not arouse the suspicion of customs agents or immigration agents at airports, Scalzo said. …

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