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How Delivery Apps In Argentina Are Turning Couriers Into Drug Runners

By Parker Diakite

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In Argentina, delivery apps such as Glovo and Rappi allow customers to ship and receive all kinds of products. As a result, people are using these apps to effectively deliver their drugs.

Courier Javier Rojas told One Zero that he noticed red flags when he got aa notification that he would deliver a box of Berocca vitamin supplements.  When he received the package, however, he immediately began to notice the smell of marijuana from the bag.

Rojas said he called Glovo Support and asked how to handle the situation. The support desk told him to take the box back to the dealer.

“I was like, am I going to say to him, ‘Hey, mate, here’s your weed — I’m not delivering it for you’?” he says. “He’s gonna shoot me. He’s gonna cut me up. Do you realize what you’re exposing me to?”

Glovo eventually gave Rojas the go-ahead to trash the package but his story is far from an isolated incident.

According to One Zero, the first reports of these incidents emerged in 2018. There have been approximately 10 cases so far where the customers used Glovo’s app’s “Anything” category.

Ultimately, it puts couriers like Rojas in a tough spot where on one hand,  the more orders you accept, the better the money and incentives. The other side of the coin is that if delivery drivers reject too many orders, then their ratings and compensation will go down.

At the same time,  they have to worry about law enforcement and if stopped,  will likely end up in prison for illegal possession while the person who sent the package in the first place will avoid consequences.

Back in 2018,  a ruling a first glance seemed to offer protection for drivers like Rojas. The ruling states that delivery app companies, including Glovo and Rappi, should be signed up to the country’s national register of postal service providers. This means that the law would recognize that the couriers’ jobs are to carry closed packages for other people without knowing the contents of the package, therefore, providing the same legal protection as postal workers.

Unfortunately for the couriers, that order was never enforced and until an agreement is reached, the couriers themselves are choosing between risking their personal safety and putting food on the table.

In a statement, Glovo told OneZero that the use of its platform to transport illicit substances is strictly prohibited. “Where couriers have any reason to suspect that illegal items are being sent through our system, we require them to report their concerns as a matter of urgency,” the company said. “Where we have any suspicion that our system is being used for the transport and delivery of illegal items, we work in close collaboration with the police and local authorities, providing all user account information and relevant data, to assist their investigations.”

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