Passage Sixteen (Mules)
Although the top men in smuggling business must work together, most of a syndicate’s small fry, especially the mules, know only their immediate contacts. If caught there is little they can give away. A mule probably will not even know the name of the person who gives him his instructions, nor how to get in touch with him. Usually he even does not know the person to whom he has to make delivery. He will be told just to sit tight in a certain hotel or bar until someone contacts him. In this way if he is blown, coming through airport customs he cannot unwittingly lead agents to the next link in the chain. All the persons at the receiving end do is to hang around the airport among the waiting crowd, and see that the mule comes through safely. If he does not, he is dimply written off as a loss. To make identification of mules easier, several syndicates have devised their own “club ties” so that a mule wearing one can immediately be picked out.
Mules often receive careful training before embarking on their first journey. One Beirut organization, for example, uses a room with three airline seats in it. There the trainee mules sit for hours on end wearing weighted smuggling vests beneath their clothes, so that they become accustomed to standing up after a long flight in a natural way, and without revealing what they are carrying. An outfit in Brussels maintained a comfortable apartment where the mules could relax and get a firm grip on themselves on the night before their first journey; they were helped to dress before setting out for the airport in the morning. More often than not a courier will not know precisely where he is going or what flight number is until he is actually handed his tickets at the airport. This prevents the careless boast in some bar or to a girl friend the night before.
Mules occasionally run off with the goods to keep the profit themselves. As insurance against this, a syndicate often sends a high-up on the same plane to keep a wary eye on couriers, particularly new ones. Even then things can go badly wrong. One international currency smuggler who was having trouble getting money out of Britain was offered help by a group of men who said they were in a position to “fix thing” – for a fee of course. Foolishly, the smuggler agreed to accept their help. When he got to London’s Heathrow Airport, he handed over to one of the men a black suitcase containing nearly $90,000 in cash, destined for Frankfurt. Just to keep an eye on things, the smuggler went along on the same plane. When they landed at Frankfurt he was handed back his suitcase. He beat a straight path to the men’s toilet, opened the case, and found only old clothes. The courier had switched suitcase en route, but the smuggler could hardly run to the police and complain that “the man who was smuggling money out of England for me has stolen it.”
1. What is a “mule”?
[A] A person who sends smuggling goods for a syndicate is called mule.
[B] A person in charge of smuggling goods is called mule.
[C] A person who makes delivery for a syndicate is called mule.
[D] A person who receives instructions from a smuggler is called mule.
2. The sentence “if he is blown” in line (6) is closest in meaning to
[A] if he is arrested.
[B] if he is recognized, but not necessarily arrested.
[C] if he is recognized and arrested.
[D] if he runs away.
3. Why does the author give an example in the last paragraph?
[A] To show how a smuggler is caught.
[B] To show a smuggler is afraid of the police.
[C] To show to keep a wary eye on couriers is useless.
[D] To show mules may keep the profit for themselves.
4. how does a mule work?
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