A drug-smuggling scam has ensnared dozens of older American citizens, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.
Elderly citizens have become unwitting drug smugglers to nations with severe penalties for drug-related charges, such as New Zealand and Australia, ABC News reports. A. Scott Brown, Acting Assistant Director of Investigative Programs for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, spoke about the scam Wednesday during a hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
Officials said 144 people have been intercepted for allegedly transporting drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and Ecstasy. Fifteen people affiliated with a transnational criminal organization were also arrested.