Flying an airplane loaded with drugs into the United States in the seventies and eighties often meant running a gauntlet of radar and surveillance aircraft. As the years went by, and as smuggling pilots and those who hired them became more creative in evading capture, drug interdiction agents in the air and on the ground became better at catching them.
It was a never-ending game of aerial cat and mouse, with the greatest risk in the game falling upon the pilots and, by extension, the organizations that had purchased the planes and bought the drugs packed into those aircraft.
Since most smugglers of that era keep their secrets, it’s impossible to say how many pilots were freelancers running their own operations, and how many flew as a hired hand. but it’s fair to assume that for many, it was a just a job they were paid to do. In this episode, we’ll meet two smugglers who hired those pilots.