Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
How to make money and not end up in Jail
Snuggling has been around since the first government decided they could control what their people could buy. From wines banned by your government to gold or 'blood diamonds' it has been part of society for millennia. So what kind of person chooses this for their profession?
First, it has to be someone intelligent who sees a market niche they can occupy, and who is willing to accept the chance that they may not be as smart as they think they are.
Some nations have treated smuggling as a death penalty offense, others merely give you jail time, but while a modern American looks at jail time as sitting on your butt for X number of years and merely counting the days, other societies even now make this as miserable as they can. As an example, in Elizabethan England 'jail' was a hole in the ground that you occupied for the duration of your sentence; if you were sentenced to 5 years back then, it was the government saying 'we want you to die, and don't even care to see you die'. When you did die (Remember the medical technology of the time, five years was pretty much guaranteed) they just filled in the hole.
So how do you smuggle (Whatever) to (Where ever) in the first place?
The primary method, even up to Star Wars is the secret compartment. You build a space not available to the average onlooker, which holds whatever stash you're moving. Even in a modern ocean going vessel this is easy; bilge spaces, fore peak spaces, there is a lot of space on a modern ship (Meaning an ocean going vessel) that can be used for this purpose. But the guys who are looking for smuggling know these spaces as well, meaning they look there first.
So you need to make sure they do not look there.
When the Millennium Falcon was captured by the Death Star, the crew hid in the secret compartments, and they left them only after the first superficial search did not find them. But Han Solo knew a deeper scan would find them; the sign of a professional smuggler compared to a dilettante.
The problem with smuggling is you always have the efficient and the dilettante. The dilettante gets into it because they see the niche but are clueless, whereas the efficient will be here next week or next month. You can't always tell them apart; what is called a 'cigarette boat' was common for almost three decades before cigarettes were their primary cargo. They were used by smugglers of alcohol during that time.
So why is the dilettante a problem? Simple; they try something and fail, then try something else and fail, then try the next and fail. While an efficient smuggler waits before trying the next option. A wise smuggler knows that as dedicated they might be to secure their blockade they have to rest, or move to another sector to maintain it. If you give them newer options to cover, they will add them, which causes your chance to evade to decrease. Sure there will be other ways, but how can you guarantee some dilettante hasn't tried it? Answer, you makes your play, and takes your chances.
Methods of insertion: There are several ways to insert your cargo. The first, and most obvious to both you and you foes is high speed. Run in, drop your cargo, and run like hell. This is bad because as I mentioned above, it is obvious. You're enemy will expect it.
Second, low and slow. Picture planet, how many meteors from micro meteors to the average fireball hits it every day? Answer too damn many. Your cargo has to be shielded from heat, and light enough to encapsulate. Odds that it will be spotted? Little or none because an average of several thousand meteors hit our atmosphere every day, so which one do you stop? Of course the larger or heavier your cargo, the more or larger the meteor, the more likely it will be intercepted. Remember, if you don't deliver, you don't get paid.
Third, misdirection; you give them the idea that you are shipping it in boxes of candy, but you slip it in through a load of fertilizer. Chances? Unless they are declaring a moratorium on fertilizer, you're golden. Believe it or not, nothing you suggest has been missed.
Do's and don'ts:
Do remember that anyone who hires you to smuggle is quite willing to accept your 'donation' if you are caught. Do remember that the man you're smuggling for would be glad to accept it without paying, whether by hiring some muscle to steal it or kill you when you try to you deliver. After all, this saves them money. This includes the partners of your client. Read In Fury Born by David Weber where the main character meets such entrepreneurs. Do resist the fanatic who expects you to work for nothing or just for the 'cause'. As often as you hear about the hard core super Christians who smuggled bibles behind the Iron Curtain, they don't mention the ones caught and sent off to the Lubyanka or a gulag.
Don't accept a job on spec; half up front or no deal. You have expenses and you have to consider them. Don't accept a job where you don't know what you're transporting or why you're transporting it. Imagine being hired to transport an unknown cargo, and discover you're transporting nuclear weapons to a terrorist organization, or even weirder, the daughter of a mobster who is being kidnapped to return to an abusive parent. Both of those scenarios have been used, and the problems are obvious.
Don't accept a job from someone you don't trust; not don't know, because 90% of your clients will not be known to you, but can you trust them to pay up? Han Solo forgot this rule in that he accepted a job from Jabba the Hutt who considered the carrier totally responsible for delivery. When he had to dump his cargo, Jabba blamed him for the loss.
So what are you carrying? It doesn't matter! Whether it is German bearer bonds or cigarettes, or booze or bibles or weapons or spice, you have a cargo that someone will pay you for if it can be delivered.
All you have to do, is deliver.