The U.S. State Department has been running a series of small ads in Spanish-language border newspapers’ employment sections, warning would-be job-seekers about accepting work as choferes — jobs involving the driving of vehicles across the border to ostensibly deliver or do business with companies en otro lado, “on the other side” of the border.
It seems that there has been a recruitment effort by smuggling interests in getting permit-qualified persons to drive vehicles — clandestinely loaded with drugs — across the border. It is believed that, most frequently, the hired driver has no knowledge of the contraband, it being hidden in doors, tires, in the trunk, or sewn into the upholstery.
The criterion that most interests these “employers” is that the applicant have easy crossing documents, such as a SENTRI card, and is under no suspicion by border inspectors.
According to sources at Immigration and Customs Enforcement this trend to hire drivers started in February of 2011, when would-be smugglers began posting ads in the classified sections of newspapers.
The spokesperson for the customs agency in San Diego, Lauren Mack, said that this is the first time the agency has run ads in Mexican newspapers warning job-seekers of the danger involved with applying for such work.