Drug Mule

What is a drug mule?

A “drug mule” is a person who transports or smuggles drugs on their body or in their luggage across international borders.

Why does a person want to be a drug mule?

Drug mules are usually offered free “holidays” overseas and lots of easy  money by drug syndicates

  1. Money

    A drug mule can earn between RM 9000 and RM 16,000 a trip for smuggling the drugs. However the drug lords who commission the mules can earn up to 100 times more than that by selling the drugs brought in by the drug mules.

  2. False promises/ being fooled/bad influence

    Drug mules are usually overwhelmed by the offers which promise the girls with expensive holidays, branded goods and good jobs. Some women are tricked by men they befriend over the internet into becoming drug mules.

  3. Addiction

    A drug addict in desperation will become a drug mule to support their habit of drug addiction.

  4. Being forced due to desperate situation

    Some women are recruited to become drug mule by loan sharks due to drug, business, medical or gambling debts and other financial difficulties.

How does a drug mule work?

The modus operandi of international drug syndicates have changed in the recent years. Now they deploy Malaysians especially young women as drug mules.

Mules smuggle drugs strapped to their bodies or in luggage, shoe soles, shampoo bottles and any other way they can think of to conceal illegal drugs to beat the security system. Sometimes the goods are hidden in the bag or vehicle of an innocent person who does not even know they are carrying drugs.

Other methods involves wrapping the drugs in condoms or latex gloves which can be stored in vagina, rectum and even swallowed to keep it in the stomach and recovering them from the feces later.

What does a drug mule look like?

Drug mules are usually in their twenties or thirties but even elderly have been caught smuggling drugs.

There is no specific “look” for drug mules. Currently the authorities are checking everyone. The majority of drug mules are male but the number of female drug mules are on the rise.

How the drug mule can get caught?

Customs officials are suspicious of:

  1. Passenger who appears overweight (as they may be straping drugs onto their bodies)

  2. Passenger who appear exceptionally nervous

  3. Women who travel alone

  4. Travellers with little luggage and who are not dressed for the expected weather conditions in the country of destination

  5. Passengers who carry gifts or parcels for other people

X-rays, urine tests and sniffer dogs are used to detect presence of drugs in immigration and custom check points

What are the consequences of being a drug mule?

Drug smuggling is a serious offence in Malaysia and in most countries worldwide and carries either a mandatory death penalty or lengthy jail sentence.

The biggest danger is the when drugs in latex gloves or condoms rupture in the stomach. This can lead to massive drug overdose and can be fatal.

Step to avoid being the victim of a drug syndicate:

Wisma Putra has outlined the following steps:

  1. Determine the status and background of your employer

  2. Beware of offers of easy money

  3. Be wary of carrying goods of unknown origin

  4. Be wary of  relationship with acquaintances who offer many promises

  5. Report to the authorities about a suspicious job offer.

BUSTED: Hamza (second right) and other Customs officers showing the four plastic packets of drugs that were smuggled into the country. ( http://www.theborneopost.com/2011/09/15/foreign-student-could-face-death-for-drugs/#ixzz3IAFCF7C4)



Last Reviewed : 25 November 2014
Writer : Dr. Wan Fadhilah bte. Wan Ismail
Accreditor : Dr. Hargeet Kaur A/P Basant Singh