An Alternative Proposal

Note: This is a personal opinion and is therefore written in the first person with a hat tip to Jonathan Swift.

I have noted in several posts that light sport aviation activities here always peak the interest of the Border Patrol and Homeland Security. There have been several crossings by smugglers using weight shift control aircraft and all those caught have been carrying bales of pot. Well, I suggest that a cost benefit analysis of smuggling bales of weed across the border would demonstrate that it is not a very cost effective proposition. A stripped down aircraft with a single pilot can only carry 3-400 lbs of pot. With a street value of $ 800-1000/lb (personal communication, Border Patrol agent) this would seem not to be cost effective compared with other commodities. Wouldn’t it be much more cost effective to carry something more valuable? There are a number of illegal drugs that have a higher street value but I would suggest something different. Instead of drug smuggling with it’s severe penalties for smugglers when caught, I would suggest something that can have a positive benefit to society, smuggling babies. Babies are in high demand, many infertile couples seek adoption both in and out of the US and in many cases the waits are long or the couples are unsuccessful . The costs associated with adoption can be upwards of $30,000 and in many cases only the very wealthy can afford the costs associated with the process.

The 50th percentile weight for a 6 month old baby boy is 18 lbs and a baby girl the weight is about 16 lbs. So lets say an average of 20 lbs./baby and an aircraft with a payload of 300-400 lbs. This translates to 15 to 20 babies/flight that could be brought instead of pot or other drug commodity. Like in the 1965 movie The Flight of the Phoenix, the babies could be placed on top of the wing where they would act a turbulators or alternatively outriggers off the carriage could be built so the babies could ride behind and to each side of the pilot.

At $30,000/baby the price/lb is $1500 almost doubling the price for illegal drugs. In addition, the positive benefit to society is clear - a steady supply of babies for infertile couples. Finally, the penalties for getting caught transporting babies across the border are less than a drug smuggling conviction. It seems to me that babies could be a much more lucrative venture than drugs.

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