Tarahumara Used as Drug Runners

Cartels exploit Indians' poverty, endurance

Caty Enders

Mexican drug traffickers are recruiting the impoverished Tarahumara Indians to run drugs across the United States border, according to an investigative report in Newsweek. Exploiting the tribe’s endurance, featured in barefoot runner Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, cartels are promising Tarahumara more than they would typically make in a year to transport backpacks of illegal drugs on foot. “You get a guy who can go 50 miles with almost no water … they’ve been indirectly training for [cross-border smuggling] for 10,000 years,” says McDougall. American defense lawyers say the number of cases of Tarahumara smuggling has skyrocketed in the last few years, largely due to poverty and famine in the Tarahumara community.

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