An Arizona mother appears to have escaped a brush with a Mexican drug trafficking ring. Yanira Maldonado was on her way back to the United States from a family funeral in Mexico with her husband, when their bus was stopped and searched. Authorities found 12 pounds of marijuana under this mother of seven's seat. Maldonado was arrested and jailed for 9 days, until authorities finally let her go last week. The story has created quite a stir, and should serve as a warning for other Americans. It is unclear at this point whether the drugs were placed by a drug cartel or a smaller drug trafficking operation, but either way, travelers need to be cautious. Jose Francisco Benitez Paz, lawyer for Maldonado, said the smuggling operation seems to have been well-planned and complex.

The Unmatched Creativity of Drug Traffickers

This should not come as a surprise. Drug traffickers have sent their goods over the border with unsuspecting travelers for years. Most people tend to relax their guard over time, however, and it takes events like this that draw much publicity to make everyone more attentive. As violence in Mexico at the hands of drug cartels continues to escalate, American citizens and authorities must be aware of the dangers. Drug traffickers have always been clever and creative in their smuggling efforts. Some have used tunnels to sneak drugs across borders, others use catapults to hurl them over, still others have experimented with carrier pigeons. There is no end to the determination of these drug traffickers.

Staying Alert to Stay Safe

As Mexico's new president established his administration's policies last year, he wanted to steer his country down a different, more peaceful path. Instead of the military-like war on drugs that has lead to violence at the hands of drug cartels, this new president plans to focus on police protection of the citizens of Mexico. Time will tell how well this approach works, and the United States will have to continue to find ways to keep our southern states safe from drug trafficking and violence. In the mean time, authorities, residents, and travelers will need to remain vigilant as the drug war continues to escalate.
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