The debate rages on over our nation’s drug problem and the best way to make positive changes. Some call for harsher drug laws, while others insist incarceration isn’t the answer when it comes to battling the disease of addiction. Many agree that those with a substance abuse problem need treatment, while it’s the drug lords who deserve jail. But a recent arrest at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport raised a new issue, making some wonder about the fate of the desperate individuals who help bring drugs into the country.
On January 6, 2011, Customs and Border Protection authorities arrested 32-year-old Sherifat Lamidi when she was found to be carrying 91 pellets of heroin inside her body. It was the biggest bust of its kind in recent memory, with Lamidi having swallowed 2½ pounds of the drug, packed inside balloon-like packaging, according to the arresting agency. The drugs she was carrying had an estimated street value of $125,000, and Lamidi was reportedly paid $6,000 for putting her life (and her freedom) at risk. Once arrested, she admitted it wasn’t her first time to take such a chance. The Detroit Free Press reported that the suspect admitted she was previously paid $4,500 to travel to Chicago after ingesting 50 heroin pellets.
Stopping that amount of heroin from entering the country and hitting our streets is certainly cause for celebration, but Lamidi, a Nigerian citizen, is far from a drug kingpin. Instead, she’s what’s known as a “drug mule.” Her long trek originated in her home country with a stop in Frankfurt, Germany, where she boarded the Lufthansa Airlines flight to Detroit. What will become of her now that she’s been caught? After being taken to a local hospital in order to “pass” the pellets, her case was turned over the US Attorney’s office for prosecution. Meanwhile, our drug problem rages on, with new individuals falling into addiction every day.
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