Confessions of a Jewel Mule: That Time I Smuggled a Fortune in Precious Gems Through US Customs
I spent my twenties saying yes to every crazy opportunity that came my way. When my best friend suggested this Mexican adventure, maybe I should have just said no.
Illustrations by Mariah Llanes
“Babe, we got this,” she whispered. “Just breathe.”
I couldn’t remember how. Was it in through my mouth and out through my nose or the other way around?
It was seven a.m. and I was in the arrivals hall of the Mexico City airport with my best friend, Camila. Before entering Mexico all visitors must press a button, which randomly lights up red or green. Green means “go.” “Red” means your bags are getting checked. If they checked ours, they’d find the normal stuff: sunblock, flip flops, crumpled sunhats, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in smuggled jewelry. We were jewel mules.
A Mexican officer waved us over. I fought the urge to throw up in my hands as I asked myself, “How the fuck did I get here?”