“Sly smuggler uses Border Patrol for free trips home,”
Time is money.
I’m not a businessman but I’ve seen Shark Tank enough to understand the phrase.
In law enforcement we have another phrase, “You don’t catch the smart ones,”
That’s usually because the would-be criminal mastermind failed to see a weakness in their particular scheme and it got him caught. Maybe a drug dealer didn’t quite know his customers as well as they should have and ended up ripped or selling to an undercover cop, something like that.
More often than not, criminals commit crime because of greed. People sell dope, commit fraud, rob banks, or in this case guide people across the U.S.-Mexico border for profit, as a way of bypassing the career ladder on the way to wealth. When some meth dealer with no job, living in the back room of grandma’s trailer is suddenly driving an eighty-thousand-dollar pick-up truck, police tend to notice. When the dude gets wrapped up because he didn’t have the patience to keep driving a shitty 1995 Honda Civic while setting up a fake auto detail business or some other way to hide his money we say,
“Well, you don’t catch the smart ones,”
While I can’t speak for every cop, and my frame of reference is dated, I always bet that there was some guy or girl out there, probably an army of them, who had the simple discipline to stay off the radar, live humbly, run their schemes, be patient, and cash out down the road. Like Andy in The Shawshank Redemption. In fact, I always wanted to meet one of them, and by meet, I mean arrest. Mostly because I wanted to be able to point to her (It would be a her because chicks are way smarter and patient than dudes) and say,
“Look! We got a smart one!”
I even wrote a disciplined drug kingpin into one of my books, Where Angels Sing. The guy’s name was Harold Washington. He owned a laundry mat, drove a crappy old truck, and just so happened to be the invisible force controlling all the illicit drug trade on the west side of Charleston, SC. I’m not going to say anymore on the off chance you haven’t scratched Where Angels Sing off your summer reading list yet, no spoilers, but worth the read.
Anyway, when I look at this story, it’s one of those where, if I was the Border Patrol guy making the arrest, I’d be hard pressed not to give Mr. Javier Ernesto Ayala-Osuna a little fist bump. If for nothing else then to say,
“Glad we caught you, but, good scam amigo,”
Not to get political, but our border is a shit show. Mr. Ayala brought illegals over the line then turned himself in to the Border Patrol for a free ride home. That’s not only brilliant, it’s a hilarious bit of ingenuity. It makes you wonder how he came to take the chance on a free ride home in the first place.
Maybe one hot, arid, desert day, he was out of water, or running late for a date back in Mexico, who knows. Either way Ayala finds himself hiding out in the bushes ducking patrols when he says to himself,
“Fuck it, what’s the worst that could happen?”
He turns himself in, a little apprehensive about the gamble. But then he gets some water, hot food, and a free trip home to not only in time to make his date, but also get a head start on his next adventure leading illegal aliens through the United States backdoor. Like I said, brilliant, maximizing efficiency of operation while at the same time tricking your adversaries into taking some of the burden off your shoulders.
According to the story he did it six times. That’s six trips, $8,000 per head, four to six people at a time for a total of around $288,000 give or take. Can’t hold it against the guy for giving that career path a hard look. Don’t get me wrong coyotes should go to jail, along with the people who pay to be smuggled over the border. But if we as a nation are going to have such senseless policies as catch and release and leave the barn door wide open, you can’t hold it against a good capitalist for trying to get his.
The story notes that Mr. Ayala was only caught because his charges (so to speak) turned him in when they got stopped as a group by the border patrol. That brings me back to my initial rant. “We don’t catch the smart ones,” we do catch the coyotes who decide to let themselves get caught with the people they are smuggling. I guess it never occurred to Ayala that they would turn him in once they realized their journey to the land o’ plenty would hook a hard detour into a DHS detention center. Oh, and that they were out a few thousand dollars for their troubles. In the end it reads like Mr. Ayala got a little too complacent in his scheme. That being said, he did get away with it six times before getting caught so maybe we do catch the smart ones. We just have to wait and catch’em when their guards down.