There has been an increase in women trafficking drugs over the Mexico-US border, according to US officials, underscoring the continued appeal of women to drug trafficking gangs.
A spokesperson for the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency said a rise in both Mexican and US women detained with drugs on the border had been registered, reported the Mexican newspaper El Universal. The spokesperson did not supply any statistics to the newspaper but explained that women were less likely to be stopped, especially when traveling with children.
Most of the female suspects used trucks in which they carried diapers, toys or dogs to try to disguise the smell of the illegal substances, the spokesperson added, and were increasingly driving vehicles themselves rather than accompanying a male trafficker. The average age of detained women was 30, according to the CBP spokesperson.
InSight Crime Analysis
A 2010 study by Mexican non-governmental organization called the National Women's Institute found that the number of women jailed in relation to the drug trafficking trade in Mexico increased 400 percent between 2007 and 2010. Often they have family connections with gang members, and acting as a drug mule is a typical role -- though there are signs of women taking up more leadership positions.
Women's tendency to attract less attention from law enforcement combined with their economic vulnerability make them ideal candidates to transport illegal drugs. These qualities have long been exploited by criminal gangs across the region, such as extortion gangs in Guatemala, a phenomenon highlighted by a Prensa Libre report last year. The number of women in Guatemalan jails has more than doubled in eight years, according to figures released earlier this month.