Many years ago, the Happy Mondays — arguably the most vulgarly debauched British rock band in the history of a country that has had no supply-side problem in that product class — nicknamed heroin “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” allegedly to hide their lead singer’s prodigious consumption of the drug.
I’m pretty sure most Mexican drug cartels probably aren’t big fans of the band’s 1990 classic “Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches,” an album which is yet more sad proof that even desperately insufferable people can create great music.
However, they were followers of the band in one important and dangerous respect: hiding Schedule I drugs by using KFC.
“Federal authorities have discovered a sophisticated drug-smuggling tunnel that went from a home in Mexico to an abandoned fast-food restaurant in Arizona,” The New York Post reported.
“The Homeland Security Investigations division of the Department of Homeland Security says it got word in April that there was a tunnel leading to an old Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant that’s not in operation in San Luis, Arizona, just about 200 yards north of the border.
“Police began trailing the owner of the abandoned building, Ivan Lopez, and arrested him this month after finding several packages of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl in the back of his truck.”
Court documents say that Lopez was a “well-trusted” member of a Mexican drug cartel.
A search of Lopez’s house and the abandoned KFC revealed a tunnel that led to a Mexican house; the tunnel was large enough for people to actually walk through, not just crawl or anything like that.
The arrest was a message that our southern border remains a critical part in the war on the opioid crisis. However, it was also a major message that the Trump administration’s border policies were having a major effect.
While that may seem paradoxical, tunnels aren’t exactly a terribly efficient way to move drugs into the United States.
“One of the things that tunneling does tell us is that as we increase infrastructure, resources, patrol, that’s forcing them to go to more costly routes into the U.S.,” Scott Brown, the special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations, told The Associated Press.
Tunnels cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and plenty of time to construct, Brown said.
“Tunnels are a time-consuming venture, but it has definitely increased since the border security measures have ramped up,” he said.
Perhaps most tellingly, Lopez only brought the property in April — meaning not only was it constructed as the Trump administration ratcheted up border security, but it wasn’t in operation very long.
Lopez was arrested Aug. 13. He hasn’t been charged yet, it seems, but is being kept in detention because he’s a flight risk. His attorney declined to comment.
The Happy Mondays, meanwhile, have long since sobered up, which means the possibility of them having scored some “Kentucky Fried Chicken” smuggled through this Kentucky Fried Chicken is thankfully nil.
That sadly isn’t the case for other Americans — but as the border wall becomes a reality and drug tunnel interdiction becomes more of a priority, that’s probably going to reduce dramatically, too.
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