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The New Drug War
Freedom Essays

The New Drug War

A lot has changed in the drug trade since the 1980s, when I went undercover for the Drug Enforcement Administration, infiltrating the top echelons of Colombia’s drug cartels and helping bring down money-laundering bankers. Back then, the Medellín cartel had a network of operatives that distributed cocaine shipments to wholesale buyers in the United States. Mexico was simply a transshipment point where commercial jets laden with huge cargoes of cocaine were safely off-loaded. The Colombians gave Mexican cartel operatives and corrupt military personnel as much as 20 percent of the shipments in exchange for the use of military bases and other airstrips for secure landing and storage. The remaining 80 percent was moved into the U.S. and sold through a network of Colombian distributors operating there. These days, Colombian cartels sell much of their cocaine directly to Mexican cartels, which then take the bulk of the risk, distributing the drug in the U.S. with the help of gangs…