Thursday, August 12, 2010

Smuggling for Somalis

There's a great couple in our building whose enormous German Shephard dog is Victor's BFF.  She's Nordic; he's British and, while we haven't spent any time indoors with them, you can tell they're cool people.

One morning, a few days after returning from New York, I run into the guy while walking our dogs.  We proceed to have the following conversation:

Him: Were you away on holiday?
Me: Yes, we were back in New York.
Him: Man, I love New York.
Me: Oh, you've been?
Him: Yeah, I used to be a smuggler.
Me, trying not to sound alarmed: A smuggler?
Him: Yeah, I used to I used to smuggle...
Me: Drugs?
Him: No, nothing that bad.  I used to smuggle illegal plants in for some Somalians living in Harlem. I guess they had this plant that they liked to chew on and it was banned in the States.  So, some guy paid me and a few of my friends a few thousand dollars to smuggle these plants into the country.
Him: Actually, I'd call myself a courier more than a smuggler.

My mind immediately went to Banged Up Abroad and I thought, "How on earth did he get them in?  No one's body cavity can hide an entire plant!"  He said they just put them in suitcases and walked right through customs.  

His buddy got busted once, but they let him go.  Five years later he takes his new wife to NYC for their honeymoon and gets rejected by customs at JFK.  He's permanently black-listed from entering the States.  Someone had A LOT of explaining to do to their wife!

1 comment:

  1. That stuff is called Khat. I live in DBay now (that's what I'm doing here- reading all your old posts) but I was in Somalia in the early 90s and saw that they would chew it to give them an amphetamine buzz and a euphoric high. It makes them fearless too, which is kind of scary. The US banned it in, I think, '93 or '94.