Thursday, November 24, 2005

Cargo from the Cartel

The cargo was laying on a dusty Mexican street. Anyone could have seen it and picked it up. But this package was meant for someone. Passed carefully from hand to hand, no one said anything. There was nothing to say. They knew what had to be done.

Up at 5 a.m., the package was transported in the dark across San Miguel de Allende. No one was the wiser, not even the cop leaning on the lightpole sleeping. Through the iron gates into a compound the material was passed from one cargo van to another, knowing glances passed among all a part of the transaction. The lid shut and the mule was off -- a high-speed, non-stop run through the high desert of central Mexico -- San Luis Potosi, Matahuala, then the long drag to Monterrey, around the city, and on to Nuevo Laredo, a place you don't stop even if contraband is not an issue.

Then comes the border - U.S. Immigration and Customs -- either can be the end of the line if you are not careful. Don't act nervous. They're taught to recognize anyone who is trying to get away with anything. Sure, the dogs will smell it. They always do but it won't matter. And, it didn't matter, as the mule breezed through into Laredo. Starbucks sounds good, but no stopping. No, never stop. 12 hours now on the road and still must make Austin tonight.

It was dark on the side of the road as the driver pulls into the abandoned parking lot, shuts off the lights and waited. The next mule pulls up -- "nice wheels for someone in this business" the weary van driver thought to himself. No matter. Keep moving. The cargo was again transferred and the new driver plowed toward Dallas in the deep night -- just a few hours more. Keep cool, it will all work out. That's what you have to think in this business, or you will drive yourself insane, or maybe it is insane to be in the business to begin with. No time for that kind of thinking. Push, drive, get it there. And, it arrived Nice, residential neighborhood. No one will ever suspect. The new owner takes possession. Smiles, a cup of coffee, but then it it over and starts again. The train never ends. There's too much of this to be moved. It is too valuable to leave on the sides of dusty roads in central Mexico.

Each transport has its own name -- this one we called "Operation Shakina" after the cargo -- a female mutt, part Boxer, my guess. Her new parents write, "Things are good, she is adjusting very well. But, her name is not Shakinah anymore. When we first got her, I was afraid that she was deaf because she totally ignored us. But Dan started calling her "Noodle" because he thought she looked like one. She answered to that right off! My 5 year old niece’s favorite color is blue, so Noodle’s middle name is Blue and Abigail bought her a blue bear which she promptly tore up. (See Save a Mexican Mutt website. We'd love to leave a package on your doorstep this holiday season.