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Drugs Smuggled in Baby's Corpse? An Urban Legend

By , About.com Guide

Sep. 21, 1998

IT'S ALWAYS fascinating to see a well-worn urban legend dressed up in new clothes for the Internet. Such is the case with a familiar horror story dating from the early 1970s about drug smugglers using the corpses of abducted, murdered children to transport their goods. We first saw it appear in email form in 1996. This version was forwarded to me in 1998:

My sister's co-worker has a sister in Texas, who with her husband was planning a weekend trip across the Mexican border for a shopping spree.

At the last minute their baby sitter canceled, so they had to bring along their two year old son with them. They had been across the border for about an hour when the baby got free and ran around the corner. The mother went chasing, but the boy had disappeared. The mother found a police officer who told her to go to the gate and wait.

Not really understanding the instructions, she did as she was instructed. About 45 minutes later, a man approached the border carrying the boy. The mother ran to him, grateful that he had been found. When the man realized it was the boy's mother, he dropped the boy and ran himself. The police were waiting for him and got him.

The boy, dead, in the 45 minutes he was missing, was cut open, ALL of his insides removed and his body cavity stuffed with COCAINE.

The man was going to carry him across the border as if he were asleep.

A two year old boy, dead, discarded as if he were a piece of trash for somebody's cocaine.

If this story can get out and change one person's mind about what drugs mean to them, We are helping. Please send this E-mail to as many people as you can, if you have a home PC send it out there too.

Lets hope and pray it changes a lot of minds. The saddest thing about the whole situation is that those persons who suffer are innocent and people we love........

God Bless you in this united effort to spread the word. You just might save a life!

Actually, you probably won't save a life. Customs and law enforcement officials tell us none of what you have just read is true. In the decades this urban legend has been in circulation, no actual instances of the horror described above have been documented.

'A story that cannot be substantiated'

The legend, or the bare bones of it, anyway, got its first mainstream media airing in 1985 when the Washington Post recounted it as factual in the interests of livening up a feature about crime problems in Miami. As folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand noted in his mid-'80s collection of urban legends, The Mexican Pet (W.W. Norton, 1986), the Post quickly found out that the story was untrue and retracted it a week later. The published correction read, in part:

In the opening paragraph of an article last Monday on crime in Miami, the Washington Post recounted a story that cannot be substantiated. The story, told to a Post reporter several years ago by a Miami undercover agent, involves the smuggling of cocaine into the United States in the body of a dead baby.

Clifton Stallings, a spokesman for the U.S. Customs Service in Miami, said "the story has been in circulation for some time. No one at Customs in Miami can verify it." - Washington Post, March 30, 1985

One customs official told the Post he had heard the story as long ago as 1973. As it was told in those days, he said, a suspiciously immobile child was spotted by an attendant on a flight from Colombia to Miami. Customs agents investigated and found that the baby, apparently deceased for some time, had been "cut open, stuffed with cocaine and sewn shut." It was considered a prime example of just how ruthless of international drug traffickers can be.

As told on the Internet, it became a much more compelling story. Set just across the U.S.-Mexico border and recounted in true "friend of a friend" fashion ("My sister's co-worker has a sister in Texas," a frequently forwarded variant began), the cautionary tale now carried a dual moral message: drugs are evil, and never let your children out of your sight. Represented as a parent's "true" nightmare, the Internet version concluded with a prayer that the story would convince people to stop using drugs. The more likely result is that has reinforced many people's already well-entrenched fears.

Further reading:

The Stuffed Baby
Ruthless smugglers murder a small child and hide drugs in its hollowed-out body to secretly transport them across international borders.

Urban Legend Come to Life?
The international press bites on the old story one more time

Edna Buchanan Debunks Cocaine Baby
As quoted in the AFU & Urban Legends Archive, Miami's top crime reporter labels the stuffed baby story "a fiction."

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