Years ago, I had a run-in with drug-smuggling Mennonites in the area around Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua in Mexico, and wrote about it, and the decay of traditional Mennonite communities there, in my second book, Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream.
A recent narcotics arrest in Canada is about that as well. The Mexican Old Colony Mennonites have been working with drug cartels, and been major importers of marijuana and cocaine to Canada and the U.S. themselves, for years.
They began in the late 1970s, early 1980s, and were able to use their ingenuity as mechanics and welders to fashion new hiding places for drugs in trucks and cars.
For my book, I found that the largest drug bust in the history of the state of Oklahoma up to that time was a Mennonite ring run out Cuauhtemoc. The main informant, now presumed dead, was himself Mennonite.
Used to be a Mennonite family crossing into El Paso would be waved through Customs. Now they get the full treatment — drug dogs, mirrors under the car, etc.
One man I spoke with said a common way to smuggle drugs was to strap them around a senile grandmother, wearing a long dress and a traditional bonnet and looking for all the world like a peasant for the 1800s.
This photo here is from an AA meeting I attended for Mennonites in the communities near Cuauhtemoc.