Like Silicon Valley, the world of marijuana smuggling has, for years, attracted some of the most talented minds in America.

 

Not everybody is cut out for that life though, and in the annals of weed smuggler lore, there is no shortage of people who should have found a different line of work – any line of work at all – instead of the drug game. 


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Let’s take a look at some of these cautionary tales, including some who had the right idea – they just got unlucky. 

1. Just Put the Weed Straight in the Suitcase

26 pounds of cannabis stuffed into a suitcase

Alden’s suitcase. Photo courtesy of the national crime agency.

Packing for a trip is no fun. Most of us hate it and just want to get it done as quickly as possible, folded clothes be damned. That tends to go out the window though if you’re packing weed in your luggage. At least for most people, that is. 

 

In May 2015, 20-year-old Henry Alden was arrested in Edinburgh after he got off a flight from Barcelona with 26 pounds of cannabis. The weed was packed directly in the suitcase, and no attempt was made by Alden to conceal it or make it not look like 26 pounds of weed. It was a bold attempt, Henry; we salute your bravery. 

2. Inside of the Body of Christ

A picture of Jesus Christ with cannabis hidden inside

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says it found weed hidden in framed pictures of Jesus Christ. (CNN)

There are countless moderately employed 20-something guys with long hair who have smuggled weed, but this takes it to another level. 

 

In February 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized 30 pounds of marijuana that had been stuffed into the back of framed pictures of Jesus, the young Nazareth man who inspired Christianity, celibacy in your 20s, and the Republican Party.

 

The agents arrested the smuggler, a 22-year-old woman who was driving a jeep from Juarez Mexico towards El Paso, Texas, when a police dog (somehow not named “Judas”) tipped cops off to the scent. We choose to turn the other cheek, but still, not cool.

3. A Month After Your Last Ridiculous Bust 

Nate Newton eating junk food

This is presumably what Newton would have done after smoking all that weed. (Bill Frakes for Sports Illustrated)

The Dallas Cowboys offensive line was one of the most consistent, high-performing units in football in the 90s. Guard Nate Newton was a 6-time pro bowler and one of the bedrocks of that line, and also one of the worst drug smugglers to ever work the I-10 corridor. 

 

In November 2001, Newton was arrested carrying 213 pounds of marijuana in a van he was driving through St. Martin Parish, Louisiana and released on $100,000 bond on charges of suspicion of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute (it could have been personal use, he’s a big guy). Barely a month later, Newton was driving through Dallas County (trying a different route, the I-20?) when he was pulled over – again in a van – with 175 pounds of marijuana. 

 

As of March 2020, Newton has not been arrested a third time while attempting to traffic hundreds of pounds of weed across the former Confederacy. He now has two sons who have followed in his footsteps (in football), has lost 175 pounds (of body weight) due to vertical gastrectomy, and looks better than ever. 

4. Wrapped in Aluminum Foil – Taken Through a Metal Detector 

Dried flowers of Cannabis sativa on tinfoil

Not the actual weed Stoudamire tried to smuggle (ildipapp/123rf.com)

Portland Trail Blazer Guard Damon Stoudamire is today the head coach of the basketball team at the University of the Pacific, though it was nearly 20 years ago that he provided us with some very obvious higher education of a different sort. 

 

In July 2003, Stoudamire was stopped at the Tucson airport trying to board a flight to New Orleans with 1.5 ounces of marijuana wrapped in aluminum foil. It’s not an insane, Nate Newton amount of marijuana, but unfortunately for Stoudamire, he had the aluminum foil wrapped herb on his person when he went through the metal detector. 

 

This seems like a rookie mistake, though Stoudamire was already in his 8th season at the time. In time, recreational marijuana would become legal in Oregon, and Stoudamire would become a college coach. Online articles about your dumb arrest, though, those are forever. 

5. Weed Smuggling that is Inclusive 

Cannabis character with wheelchair isolated on white background. 3d illustration

Finding good stock images is hard. (tawhy/123rf.com)

Donte Jonae Damas had the right idea; he probably just didn’t sell it well enough. 

 

In April 2011, the young man was arrested trying to cross into San Diego from Mexico riding in a wheelchair with five pounds of weed stashed under the seat. Damas – who is not disabled – was then taken into custody, where he was forced to regain use of his legs. 

 

This arrest begs the question – was Professor Xavier really making the best use of his superpower, or his disability? It doesn’t look like it. 

6. Inside of Fake Produce

Cannabis hidden in fake carrots

What kind of crazy carrots do they have in Mexico that smugglers found this convincing?

In a pinch, you can hollow out all types of fruits and vegetables and turn them into pipes or stash your drugs in them. 

 

In January 2016, though, some smugglers were arrested near the Mexican border in south Texas with nearly a ton of marijuana stuffed into more than 2,800 packages that were made to look like carrots. 

 

The packages didn’t look all that bad – but not that great either. Sort of to carrots what “the dummy left propped up in the bed during a prison escape” is to a human body. Enough to fool you at first glance, but really, not something you’re going to want to risk your freedom on if you don’t have to. 

 

In the future, may we recommend watermelons, pumpkins, or just a…..

7. Marijuana Cannon!

Packets of cannabis and ammunition magazines on a table with a marijuana cannon in the backgound

Man, would I love to see this thing in action. (Photo: PGR)

Remember your idiot friend who used to say (after a giant bong hit) something like, “what if the army could just like, fire cannons full of weed at people, there’d be world peace, man?”

 

Turns out your friend who is now 40 and still works at the movie theater was wrong – the weed cannon would be used to smuggle weed, as it should. 

 

In November 2017, Mexican authorities seized a homemade cannon along with more than 800 kilograms of marijuana in the Mexican border town of Agua Prieta. The cannon was rigged so it could be fired from the sunroof of a van over the border and into America, providing further proof of the futility of walls.

8. Honorable Mention – While Making History

Did you know Benjamin Franklin was just trying to light his joint that night he discovered electricity? True story

The founding fathers of the United States really liked neglecting their teeth, preserving slavery, and also, hemp. Evidence of their involvement with cultivating and/or using hemp can be a bit unclear at times, but the plant did arrive on the continent already with the Puritans in Colonial America. 

 

And while George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were both known to be big fans of hemp, only Thomas Jefferson was willing to catch a case for it. Yes, it turns out, Jefferson not only received a patent for a hemp threshing machine, but he also smuggled cannabis seeds from China to France and then to America, while he was serving as ambassador to France. 

 

If you use your diplomatic cover to move weight, you’re making this list, and you should be much higher if we’re being honest. 

Mistakes happen – take your time 

People make mistakes, and that’s why pencils have erasers – so you can paint little pieces of hash pink and put them on the ends of pencils before boarding a flight.

 

Regardless, looking back at this list, we can see a whole host of innovators whose courage perhaps surpassed their planning. They didn’t let that stop them though, so….slow clap guys, better luck next time.