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Strong Euro Makes Air Travel Easier, More Convenient for International Drug Smugglers

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With the euro at $1.43, life on the road for international drug smugglers continues to be less of a chore than ever.

As a strong euro makes it far more profitable to distribute narcotics overseas than it does to shunt them a few hundred miles north into the United States, drug traffickers are enjoying the spoils of a booming European cocaine market.

But a strong euro has other, highly-practical benefits to the international coke dealer. Like lightening the load for couriers transporting lots of illegal cash in their carry-on bags.

In 2009, Russell Benson, the DEA’s regional director for Europe and Africa, told Bloomberg that, at an exchange rate of $1.38 per euro, $1 million in 500-euro bills would weigh about three-and-a-half lbs., while $1 million in $100 bills would weigh in at roughly 22 lbs. (At today's exchange, the difference in weight would be negligible, at best.)

Organized crime's preference for the euro has been common knowledge for several years now; Donald Semesky, chief of financial operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, told the New York Times that "90 percent of the €1.7 billion in euro currency ... registered as having entered the United States in 2005 came through Latin America."

Of course, when the euro eventually comes back down to earth, Colombian chiropractors should see an uptick in business, what with the inevitable complaints of "briefcase elbow" hitting drug mules across the sector all at once.
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