Rachel – Day 37

13 Mar

The News: Columbian Soldiers Find $20 Million Cash Stashed In The Jungle (2003). In 2003, 3 American contractors had been kidnapped by FARC rebels and Columbian soldiers were sent on the rescue mission to find them. While in the jungle searching for these Americans, the soldiers were eating jungle meet (mostly monkeys). One of the soldiers got sick, went several feet away to vomit and stumbled upon buried cash in the process. By the time they dug up all the money, it was over $20 million dollars in hard cash. The soldiers, who were at the time making around $40 a week for their rescue mission in the jungle, decided to load up their bodies with as much money as they possibly could. They went from town to town and drank as much as they could, had prostitutes, bought expensive things and spent the money like it was burning their pockets. Unfortunately, they left a pretty obvious trail and thus were easy to track which led to their arrests. There were about 150 of them and a couple of them were able to get away and flee the country, of which no one knows where they are to this day. The others were charged with stealing government property, which was a bit of a sticky charge since the money was actually not government property. This money was drug money accrued by the guerrillas (FARC rebels) and stashed in the jungle because it was too risky for them to open an account. So, this money was in a sense stolen before it was stolen by the soldiers. Since 2003, when all of this went down, the soldier’s charges have been dropped and the 3 Americans were found 5 years after they were captured in 2003.

(http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2010/02/law_of_the_jungle_author_tells.php) and (NPR Radio)

My Comments: There’s supposed to be a really great book out about this story called, “Law of The Jungle,” by John Otis. It parallels the two stories that were happening during that time: the American hostage and rescue story alongside the FARC drug money found by the Columbian soldiers.

I see how the soldiers fell into this temptation to abort their mission and live a cash flow indulgent lifestyle, but this is how I would have wanted them to respond: take as much money as possible and relocate it to another hidden place that only they would be able to find, continue on their mission, rescue the 3 Americans, go back and get the money, turn the money into the American government, and then pray they would get a portion of that money for their bravery, effort and honesty. What a surreal story though. Can you imagine stumbling upon $20 million in cash? Apparently your odds are better in that scenario than in the lottery because the FARC rebels hid cash all throughout the jungle to avoid complications with illegal money in banks. Perhaps I should give up my lotto tickets and head over to the Columbian Jungle.

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