To Catch a Smuggler

Last updated
To Catch a Smuggler
Genre Documentary
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes64
Original network National Geographic
Original releaseOctober 8, 2012 (2012-10-08) 

To Catch a Smuggler is a documentary television series that depicts the work of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement law enforcement officers at multiple United States airports. Violations range from fraudulent visas to human trafficking. To Catch a Smuggler is featured on National Geographic. [1]


A typical episode presents several incidents of the following types:

The channel features several sister series under the same title, which focus on law enforcement activities at airports and facilities in other countries, including Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, and the Dutch Caribbean.


Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 5October 8, 2012 (2012-10-08)November 5, 2012 (2012-11-05)
2 8January 1, 2020 (2020-01-01)February 19, 2020 (2020-02-19)
3 15January 20, 2021 (2021-01-20)May 19, 2021 (2021-05-19)
4 12February 9, 2022 (2022-02-09)April 27, 2022 (2022-04-27)
5 10September 14, 2022 (2022-09-14)November 16, 2022 (2022-11-16)
6 8May 10, 2023 (2023-05-10)June 28, 2023 (2023-06-28)
7 6July 26, 2023 (2023-07-26)September 13, 2023 (2023-09-13)

Season 1 (2012)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"Courier to Kingpin"October 8, 2012 (2012-10-08)
22"Cavity Courier"October 15, 2012 (2012-10-15)
33"Hidden Heroin"October 22, 2012 (2012-10-22)
44"Coke in the Coat"October 29, 2012 (2012-10-29)
55"Search & Seize"November 5, 2012 (2012-11-05)

Season 2 (2020)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
61"Internal Investigation"January 1, 2020 (2020-01-01)
72"Club Drugs and Party People"January 8, 2020 (2020-01-08)
83"Suspicious Suitcase"January 15, 2020 (2020-01-15)
94"Cocaine Crackdown"January 22, 2020 (2020-01-22)
105"Smuggle Once, Smuggle Twice?"January 29, 2020 (2020-01-29)
116"Drugs, Guns and Money"February 15, 2020 (2020-02-15)
127"Cocaine Sausages"February 12, 2020 (2020-02-12)
138"Decoys, Diversions and Drug Busts"February 19, 2020 (2020-02-19)

Season 3 (2021)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
141"Mama's Meth"January 20, 2021 (2021-01-20)
152"The Coke Inside"January 27, 2021 (2021-01-27)
163"Party Drugs"February 3, 2021 (2021-02-03)
174"Endangered and Smuggled"February 10, 2021 (2021-02-10)
185"Hidden Compartments"February 17, 2021 (2021-02-17)
196"Stash House Takedown"February 24, 2021 (2021-02-24)
207"Coke, Cakes and Cash"March 3, 2021 (2021-03-03)
218"Dark Web and Liquid Drugs"March 10, 2021 (2021-03-10)
229"Cocaine Shoes"April 7, 2021 (2021-04-07)
2310"Lockdown Lockup"April 14, 2021 (2021-04-14)
2411"Fentanyl Within"April 21, 2021 (2021-04-21)
2512"Mobile Meth"April 28, 2021 (2021-04-28)
2613"Express Delivery Ecstasy"May 5, 2021 (2021-05-05)
2714"Mega Millions Meth Stash"May 12, 2021 (2021-05-12)
2815"Meth Lab Takedown"May 19, 2021 (2021-05-19)

Season 4 (2022)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date [2]
291"Smuggled and Muzzled"February 9, 2022 (2022-02-09)
302"Jungle Stash"February 23, 2022 (2022-02-23)
313"Bunked in a Trunk"February 23, 2022 (2022-02-23)
324"Smorgasbord of Smack"March 2, 2022 (2022-03-02)
335"Killer Ketamine"March 9, 2022 (2022-03-09)
346"Guns of New York"March 16, 2022 (2022-03-16)
357"Gas Tank Meth"March 23, 2022 (2022-03-23)
368"Powdered Rims"March 30, 2022 (2022-03-30)
379"Million Dollar Ride"April 6, 2022 (2022-04-06)
3810"Dope on a Rope"April 14, 2022 (2022-04-14)
3911"Six Million Dollar Seizure"April 21, 2022 (2022-04-21)
4012"Drug Boat Bust"April 27, 2022 (2022-04-27)

Season 5 (2022)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date [2]
411"Cocaine Snapper"September 14, 2022 (2022-09-14)
422"Talibani Treasure Trove"September 21, 2022 (2022-09-21)
433"Tunnel from Tijuana"September 28, 2022 (2022-09-28)
444"Dark Net Dragnet"October 5, 2022 (2022-10-05)
455"Blow Overboard"October 12, 2022 (2022-10-12)
466"Coke on the Water"October 19, 2022 (2022-10-19)
477"MDMA on the Move"October 26, 2022 (2022-10-26)
488"Meth in the City"November 2, 2022 (2022-11-02)
499"Guac and Coke"November 9, 2022 (2022-11-09)
5010"It's Raining Meth"November 16, 2022 (2022-11-16)

Season 6 (2023)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date [2]
511"Boatloads of Coke"May 10, 2023 (2023-05-10)
522"Hot Drugs"May 17, 2023 (2023-05-17)
533"Popped for Pills"May 24, 2023 (2023-05-24)
544"Bananas and Blow"May 31, 2023 (2023-05-31)
555"The Coke Eater"June 7, 2023 (2023-06-07)
566"Dope in the Hood"June 14, 2023 (2023-06-14)
577"Freeway Meth"June 21, 2023 (2023-06-21)
588"Ice Cold Cocaine"June 28, 2023 (2023-06-28)

Season 7 (2023)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date [2]
591"Junk in the Trunk"July 26, 2023 (2023-07-26)
602"Asleep on Lots of Coke"August 2, 2023 (2023-08-02)
613"To the Grinder"August 9, 2023 (2023-08-09)
624"Money Dog"August 16, 2023 (2023-08-16)
635"Fentanyl Express"August 23, 2023 (2023-08-23)
646"Gold Diggers"August 30, 2023 (2023-08-30)
657"Meth Magnets and Dirty Money"September 6, 2023 (2023-09-06)
668"Cocaine Rides in the Crew Cab"September 13, 2023 (2023-09-13)

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smuggling</span> Illegal movement of goods or people

Smuggling is the illegal transportation of objects, substances, information or people, such as out of a house or buildings, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations. More broadly, social scientists define smuggling as the purposeful movement across a border in contravention to the relevant legal frameworks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">People smuggling</span> Illegal transportation of people

People smuggling, under U.S. law, is "the facilitation, transportation, attempted transportation or illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border, in violation of one or more countries' laws, either clandestinely or through deception, such as the use of fraudulent documents".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sting operation</span> Deceptive way to catch a person committing a crime

In law enforcement, a sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person attempting to commit a crime. A typical sting will have an undercover law enforcement officer, detective, or co-operative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect's actions to gather evidence of the suspect's wrongdoing. Mass media journalists occasionally resort to sting operations to record video and broadcast to expose criminal activity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Border control</span> Measures taken to regulate the movement of goods and people across borders

Border control comprises measures taken by governments to monitor and regulate the movement of people, animals, and goods across land, air, and maritime borders. While border control is typically associated with international borders, it also encompasses controls imposed on internal borders within a single state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Customs Service</span> U.S. federal government agency from 1789 to 2003

The United States Customs Service was a federal law enforcement agency of the U.S. federal government. Established on July 31, 1789, it collected import tariffs, performed other selected border security duties, as well as conducted criminal investigations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canada Border Services Agency</span> Canadian agency in charge of border security

The Canada Border Services Agency is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for border control, immigration enforcement, and customs services in Canada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">U.S. Customs and Border Protection</span> American federal law enforcement agency

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. It is the country's primary border control organization, charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, as well as enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. It has a workforce of more than 45,600 federal agents and officers. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Body cavity search</span> Visual or manual internal inspection of body cavities for prohibited materials

A body cavity search, also known simply as a cavity search, is either a visual search or a manual internal inspection of body cavities for prohibited materials (contraband), such as illegal drugs, money, jewelry, or weapons. Body cavities frequently used for concealment include the mouth, vagina, and rectum. It is far more invasive than the standard strip search that is typically performed on individuals taken into custody, either upon police arrest or incarceration at a jail, prison, or psychiatric hospital. Often the procedure is repeated when the person leaves the institution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mule (smuggling)</span> Person who smuggles contraband and illegal drugs to another border

A mule or courier is someone who personally smuggles contraband across a border for a smuggling organization. The organizers employ mules to reduce the risk of getting caught themselves. Methods of smuggling include hiding the goods in vehicles or carried items, attaching them to one's body, or using the body as a container.

Smuggling is a behavior that has occurred ever since there were laws or a moral code that tax or forbid access to a specific person or object. At the core of any smuggling organization is the economic relationship between supply and demand. From the organization's point of view, the issues are what the consumer wants, and how much the consumer is willing to pay the smuggler or smuggling organization to obtain it.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Border guard</span> Government service concerned with security of national borders

A border guard of a country is a national security agency that performs border security. Some of the national border guard agencies also perform coast guard and rescue service duties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Directorate of Revenue Intelligence</span> Premier Intelligence Agency of Indian Customs, Government of India

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is an Indian intelligence agency. It is India's apex anti-smuggling intelligence, investigations and operations agency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">UK Border Agency</span>

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) was the border control agency of the Government of the United Kingdom and part of the Home Office that was superseded by UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement in April 2013. It was formed as an executive agency on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), UKvisas and the detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs. The decision to create a single border control organisation was taken following a Cabinet Office report.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Customs Surveillance Service</span> Law enforcement agency of the Spanish Ministry of Finance

The Customs Surveillance Service is a law enforcement agency of the Spanish Ministry of Finance, integrated in the Spanish Tax Agency. Its responsibilities include the investigation and prosecution of cases involving contraband, illegal drugs, financial evasion and violations, money laundering, surveillance for financial police purposes and the provision of judicial police services. Its activities can be compared in USA with agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration, ATF, or some of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Border Force</span> UK law enforcement agency

Border Force (BF) is a law-enforcement command within the Home Office, responsible for frontline border control operations at air, sea and rail ports in the United Kingdom. The force was part of the now defunct UK Border Agency from its establishment in 2008 until Home Secretary Theresa May demerged it in March 2012 after severe criticism of the senior management.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Illicit cigarette trade</span> Trade in tobacco goods which fail to comply with legislation

The illicit cigarette trade is defined as "the production, import, export, purchase, sale, or possession of tobacco goods which fail to comply with legislation". Illicit cigarette trade activities fall under 3 categories:

  1. Contraband: cigarettes smuggled from abroad without domestic duty paid;
  2. Counterfeit: cigarettes manufactured without authorization of the rightful owners, with intent to deceive consumers and to avoid paying duty;
  3. Illicit whites: brands manufactured legitimately in one country, but smuggled and sold in another without duties being paid.
<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian Border Force</span> Australian federal law enforcement agency

The Australian Border Force (ABF) is a federal law enforcement agency, part of the Department of Home Affairs, responsible for offshore and onshore border enforcement, investigations, compliance, detention operations and customs services in Australia. Through the ABFs Marine Unit, the ABF performs Coast Guard and marine law enforcement duties and is a component of the Maritime Border Command. The ABF is also part of the National Intelligence Community and is an active member of the World Customs Organization.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bureau of Customs</span> Agency of the Philippine government

The Bureau of Customs is a Philippine government agency under the Department of Finance. The Bureau of Customs was established on February 6, 1902 by the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands of the United States of America, during the American Colonial Era of the Philippines.

Deportations of Iranian students at US airports were a series of events that began in 2019 and continued until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. In this series of events, Iranian students, despite having a valid student visa, were detained at US airports and later deported. These expulsions have been on the rise since 2019.


  1. "Hidden Heroin". Nat Geo TV . National Geographic. 2 February 2010. Archived from the original on 24 December 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "To Catch a Smuggler on National Geographic Channel". The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 9, 2022.