In February the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Department of Homeland Security released a joint statement concerning a scam targeting America’s senior citizens, following a hearing on the disturbing trend.
Global drug traffickers are preying on senior citizens by convincing them to travel abroad —often times by covering travel expenses — and then tricking them into smuggling drugs across international borders.
There are at least 145 victims who have fallen for the scam and a majority of them are senior citizens. These men and women were arrested by foreign governments for carrying a total of 272 kilograms of narcotics. The drugs ranged from methamphetamine, heroin and ecstasy. At least 44 Americans are serving time overseas because of the scam.
“The criminals who set this chain of events into motion are cruel, but also very, very clever,” said Sen. Susan M. Collins, committee chairman. “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that seniors and their families become aware of these criminals’ techniques and take action to protect themselves and their loved ones from these heartless criminals.”
Below is video testimony from Daniel Seibert, a senior from Arizona who was almost a victim to this crime:
To help combat this troubling epidemic Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is partnering with Customs and Border Patrol to create a joint operation known as “Operation Cocoon.” Since the operations inception foreign authorities have arrested 15 individuals connected with criminal organizations. Additionally, ICE has prevented 16 seniors from becoming victims.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, please call 1-855-303-9470 or CLICK HERE to visit the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Fraud Hotline.