The Mule: Tales of A Canadian Drug Smuggler
by Matt with R.
From Vol. 2 No. 2, 2000
R: This story happened in Paris, 1973. If I remember well, it was in February, or early March. I was coming from Morocco carrying, as a mule. Nothing in dust!, to be clear… SHIT as we call it. I had three keys-and-a-half stripped on my belly. So, we got to Paris, from Morocco we were taking the plane from Tangiers and landing in ORLY, cause it was ORLY in these days?
M: Right, before De Gaulle
R: Right. We were supposed to take an Air Canada plane from there, that would make it seem that we were leaving from Paris, and not just connecting on a plane from Tangiers. But when we got there we were delayed by fifteen minutes and we lost the plane. So we had to stay overnight in Paris, and we were totally broke, almost at that moment. So we went down Les Invalides on St. Dominique Blvd. and rented a very small room in a very cheap hotel, you know, like very low, the lowest you can get for peanuts. We slept there, and had a breakfast because it was included, it was like 55 Franks per person. We left and went back to ORLY the next morning. The guy that I was with had not carried shit across borders before, so when he had to re-strap the shit on me, he went to the drugstore and got a very thin tape. As a result it was cutting me because of the weight. The tape was cutting into my skin. Technically, you must use two-and-a-half-inch masking tape for that.
M: So it’s more like a belt.
R: Right. I was in pain! So I get to the airport with the other one and we go to the Air Canada counter, it’s Saturday morning at that moment. I throw my ticket on the counter and the man says its $15.80 more cause it’s the weekend, airport tax. I was broke! So I went to see the one I was with, he was dressed as a hippie and I was dressed as a businessman with a tie and a very nice wool suit. I was a millionaire traveling, or an old bastard, filthy rich, something like that, that everybody goes ‘bleagh’ to. The other one had long hair, jeans, a packsack, running shoes, a real hippie. So we were not teamed, at all, by sight. He was always staying, like, 15-20 feet minimum from me. As long as we were in sight, that was it. So I went to see him discreetly, and I tell him, “well, they’re asking $15.80 more per person”. We were broke! So I had to do a move, I still had the shit on my belly and my back was telling me I had the shit on my belly. So I took his ticket and went back to the Air Canada counter and I came there very bold, and I threw the two tickets on the counter, pulled out my Federal Identity card, Canadian Citizenship, and held it covering the logo, and told him very fast- “I’m from the secret service, I have to bring that man back to Canada this morning, you have to fix something, we’re broke, we have to leave the country right away.”
So the man looked at me, looked at the card in my hand, he was a commissioner for Air Canada. So I told him that I would write him a cheque for $31.60, but I was putting it on a bank that didn’t exist, and as soon as I get to Montreal I will be opening a bank account, putting the money in, and sending to Air Canada relations the address and where to cash the cheque. So he accepted it because I was a ‘secret service member’. That was the beginning of that morning.
I left the counter with the two embarkment cards, and Jean was following me. At one moment he came close to me and I gave him his fucking embarkment card and he split again. Then we were not together anymore, only the Commissioner from Air Canada knows we are together, and this is very important. So we get to the International zone, and we are walking toward the aisles of our plane. Suddenly I see two or three men, Arab men, hands up! Pants down!” And there are two or three officers searching on people bad! Then there were military running all over the place with sub-machine guns, totally panicked with steel helmets and everything, and they’re all over the fucking airport!
I put myself in line, where you’re supposed to present your card, and Jean is two passengers behind me. There’s me, one, two, and then Jean is there. The closer we get to the aisles where you have to give your card, the more I realize they’re searching everyone. When you are an Arab type, they strip you complete. If you’re white and occidental type, they don’t bother too much. They’re just going to try to see if you’re hiding something, but no more. So, I cannot back up in that situation. If I turn around and try to get out I’m gonna be under suspicion right away, you know? And then I’m cooked, and its 14 years square, you know, like-boom. And a $50, 000 fine minimum, O.K.? They don’t play with that shit. So I keep going and going and praying my angel to be with me. So I get to the man and instinctively, like my intuition or my angel. I pulled out all of my cards and paper, including my vaccination card, my Canadian passport, my receipts, everything. I had about seventeen folded up cards and papers. And I presented the stack to the man that was supposed to search me. I already had my stamp on the embarkment card- and, just at the moment that he went to pick it up- I let it all fall to the floor. So everything fell to the floor, one kneels and starts picking up the papers, another one looks at me and says it’s O.K. it was an accident. So one is on the floor in front of me, and meanwhile the other one turns away from me and starts taking care of another one because I’m no danger, I
I’m a businessman. The guard says, “Oh you’re Canadian!”. I say, “sure, I have family in France, I’m married to a French girl, blah, blah, blah”. He gathers all the paper form the floor and gives them back to me but stays down and starts searching me. Feeling my legs and boots, but talking to me about Canada, the winter, and the wide space, and this and that. Then he gets up, and when we are about eyes to eyes if I can put it that way, he realizes that he really has to work. He says, “O.K. man I have to work, seriously”. Now he starts searching me for real. But he is searching under my shoulders and on my arms-
M: Because as he stood up he missed searching your belly!
R: Yeah! So he’s past the bulk there which is well concealed in bath towel. Bath towel is good to wrap in because it keeps the heat of the body well. We molded the shit to my body so it would have been hard to feel where my skin ended and the shit began. All the edges on the shit are smoothed, and I had special pants with an extra 2 1/2 inches waistband, etc. Anyway, and I was very cool at this point, he searches under the shoulder, and says O.K. go. So, I keep going, I have no bags because they are all dispatched to the plane. In front of me there are many people getting really searched, you know, the finger in the ass, you know, they are really searching!
As I finished up with the guard I asked the man, “What’s happening”. He said, “There are two planes under terrorist take, at the airport. They have a bomb on one, and that’s why we have to check”. Two planes were paralyzed at the end of the runway, there were two that morning. I went to the little lounge there. Watching all the customs men working, and searching other people. I sat and started to shake, the adrenaline was rushing in man. So I sat and pulled a little book from my pocket and pretended to read in order to stop my hands from shaking. I was holding myself to the book, my eyes were plugged in the book, very serious, my legs held tight together. It lasted for about 2 or 3 minutes. I was watching Jean coming in, because he was behind me. They searched him complete, pants down and everything, because he looked like a hippie! They even looked in the aluminum poles of his packsack with rods. Hostie! They searched in his hair, they searched in the heels of his shoes – he was pissed off man! I was the one carrying!
When Jean gets through he comes and stands in front of me and he’s pissed of at me cause I didn’t get searched as he got searched. He says, “I’m white like you, I’m Canadian like you! What did you do to avoid being searched? What did you say to them, hostie?!” He was very mad at me. Suddenly I looked at him and said, “Will you fuck off please, I don’t know you! Keep playing the game man! I passed, don’t sell me out now! I still have to go on the plane and sit there and choke for six hours on that fucking shit that you put on my back”. You know, at that time every twenty minutes I had to put my fingers under the package and lift it away from my body. Suck in a big breath and get enough oxygen to hold me for twenty minutes. After that I had to pant like a dog to get air, it was choking me. Suddenly he looks at me and realizes the situation, as he walks away he says to me, “I have something to tell you”. I said, “what?” He replied, “Your book there is upside down!!!”
After this we got on the plane and that was it.
The Mule: Tales of A Canadian Drug Smuggler