You Can Be Involved and Not Even Realize It!
There is a very serious problem in the trucking industry—drug trafficking. The ability to legally cross state lines and the amount of storage available make semi trucks very attractive for drug smugglers. Sad to say, there are drivers that know they are carrying cargo that can shatter lives, orphan children and worse. But more often the driver and even the company he or she works for is unaware that they are carrying deadly cargo.
Drugs are easily hidden on semi trucks in places drivers and their companies don’t suspect. They may be placed behind the wheels where no one would look and even within boxes of legitimate merchandise. Before the driver picks up the load the smugglers load their contraband carefully where they cannot be found by ordinary inspections. They often vacuum seal the bags in an effort to evade drug-sniffing dogs and place them under legitimate merchandise so as to evade casual inspections.
Although the FDA is vigilant and has agents and informers inside suspect companies, they often miss contraband. The FDA has a legal right to inspect trucks and have developed special equipment to detect drugs even if they are stored inside your gas tanks.
Some truckers carry drugs that are for their personal use, to be sure. It’s not uncommon to find over the counter drugs such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medicine or prescription anti-inflammatories in the cabs of semis. These are not the type of drugs that concern the FDA, but because there are other drugs that truckers can carry that are dangerous to themselves and others many drivers volunteer to be randomly tested. If a trucker’s name comes up for testing he or she is told how long they have to appear for the test and where they can take it that’s close to where they are. Yet because this is a voluntary commitment the program rarely exposes a driver who takes illegal drugs.
Any driver caught transporting illegal drugs can be charged with possession and it can be difficult and costly to prove that they had no knowledge of their illicit cargo. Although it may take a few extra minutes a driver should always inspect the areas around their tires every time they leave their truck unattended. Look in places that you would hide something you didn’t want found. Be sure to get signatures swearing to the contents of your load and pay attention to your truck’s weight. If you notice an extra few pounds at a weigh-in, especially if you have stopped somewhere between loading up and the weigh station, you should be suspicious. Afterall, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when sorry means jail-time!