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San Diego Attorney Warns Border Travelers of ‘Blind Mule’ Scams


"This is a dangerous trend that all border travelers need to be aware of"

Less than a week before Thanksgiving, a Federal Jury acquitted a 71-year-old man accused of smuggling nearly 45 pounds of methamphetamine into the United States. The innocent man was the latest victim of a “Blind Mule” or “Mula Ciega” incident, which involves a victim unknowingly importing drugs across the US border.
“This is a dangerous trend that all border travelers need to be aware of,” said Dan Smith of San Diego Defenders, a 27 year veteran of defending federal criminal cases out of San Ysidro, the world’s busiest border.
“Checking that your spare tire has not been swapped out for one filled with drugs is incredibly important. Fortunately for our client, a jury agreed he was a victim, but this case has created incredible stress and anguish for him and his family,” Smith added.
Smith and his partner Jon Pettis secured the rare “not guilty” verdict for Juan Labrada-Padilla, who crossed the border at Otay Mesa back in July.  Upon inspection of his vehicle, federal authorities found over 44 pounds of drugs hidden in a spare tire underneath the bed of Padilla’s pickup truck. He was completely unaware the drugs were present.
Cartels in Mexico sometimes target individuals who frequently cross the border into the US.  Drugs are attached with magnets, spare tires or anything else that comes off for easy recovery at a later time.
The US Attorney’s Office in San Diego has issued a memorandum to defense attorneys like Smith and Pettis, admitting that blind mules exist and have even paid for Mexican newspaper ads warning the public to be careful.
“Innocent people are serving jail time due to these types of cases and we want to ensure those who frequently cross the Mexican border are aware that this can happen,” said Smith.
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 Blind Mules

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