Drug Lord: A True Story: The Life and Death of a Mexican Kingpin

Cinco Puntos Press
32
Free sample

"Drug Lord is the real thing. Raw, immediate, indispensable."—Don Winslow, author of The Power of Dog and California Fire and Life

"The [drug smuggling] business goes on, the slaughtered dead pile up, the US agencies continue to ratchet up their budgets, the prisons grow larger and all the real rules of the game are in this book, some kind of masterpiece."—Charles Bowden, from the introduction

"Pablo Acosta was a living legend in his Mexican border town of Ojinaga. He smuggled tremendous amounts of drugs into the United States; he survived numerous attempts on his power—and his life—by rivals; and he blessed the town with charity and civic improvements. He was finally slain in 1987 during a raid by Mexican officials with the cooperation of US law enforcement. Poppa has turned out a detailed and exciting book, covering in depth Acosta's life; the other drug factions that battled with him; the village of Ojinaga; and the logistics of the drug operation. The result is a nonfiction account with enough greed, treachery, shoot-outs, and government corruption to fascinate true crime and crime fiction readers alike. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

Terrence E. Poppa, an award-winning journalist, was a finalist for a 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his investigations into the connection between crime and government in Mexico. He was featured in Standoff in Mexico, a PBS production about fraudulent elections in Mexico. Due to his unique insights into the world of Mexican drug trafficking, Poppa has been widely interviewed on radio and television, including Larry King Live and The O'Reilly Factor.



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About the author

Charles Bowden was born in Joliet, Illinois on July 20, 1945. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and a master's degree in American intellectual history from the University of Wisconsin. He completed work toward his doctorate there but walked out while defending his dissertation, because he was frustrated with what he felt were uninformed questions from his review committee. He was a reporter for The Tucson Citizen in the early 1980s. He wrote several books during his lifetime including Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder and Family, Juárez: The Laboratory of Our Future, A Shadow in the City: Confessions of an Undercover Drug Warrior, Murder City: Ciudad Juárez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields, and Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America. He died on August 30, 2014 at the age of 69.

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4.5
32 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Cinco Puntos Press
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Published on
Nov 30, 2010
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781935955009
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Latin America / Mexico
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / Criminology
True Crime / Organized Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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With the war between the Mexican state and the drug traffickers operating within its borders having claimed over 70,000 lives since 2006, noted journalist and author Michael Deibert zeroes in on the story of the notorious Gulf Cartel, their deadly war with their former allies Los Zetas, the cartel's connections in Mexican politics and what its trajectory means for Mexico’s--and America’s--future.

Punctuated by the disappearance of busloads of full of people from Mexican highways, heavy-weapon firefights in once-picturesque colonial towns and the discovery of mass graves, nowhere has the violence of Mexico’s drug war been more intense than directly across the border from East Texas, the scene of a scorched-earth war between two of Mexico’s largest drug trafficking organizations: The Gulf Cartel, a criminal body with roots stretching back to Prohibition, and Los Zetas, a group famous for their savagery and largely made up of deserters form Mexico's armed forces. From the valleys and sierras of rural Tamaulipas and Nuevo León to the economic hub of Monterrey, the violence rivals anything seen in the more well-known narco war in Ciudad Juárez, 830 miles to the west.

Combining dozens of interviews that the author has conducted over the last six years in Mexico and other countries in the region along with a vast reserve of secondary source material, In the Shadow of Saint Death gives U.S. readers the story of the war being waged along our border in the voices of the cartel hitmen, law enforcement officials, politicians,  shopkeepers, migrants  and children living inside of it year-round. Through their stories, the book will pose provocative questions about the direction and consequence of U.S. drug policy and the militarized approach to combating the narcotics trade on both sides of the border.
Mexico is in a state of siege. Since President Felipe Calderon declared a war on drugs in December 2006, more than 38,000 Mexican have been murdered. During the same period, drug money has infused over $130 billion into Mexico's economy, now the country's single largest source of income. Corruption and graft infiltrate all levels of government. Entire towns have become ungovernable, and of every 100 people killed, Mexican police now only investigate approximately 5 eases.

But the market is booming: In 2009, more people in the United States bought recreational drugs than ever before. In 2009, the United Nations reported that some $350 billion in drug money had been successfully laundered into the global banking system the prior year, saving it from collapse.

How does an "extra" $350 billion in the global economy affect the murder rate in Mexico? To get the story and connect the dogs, acclaimed journalist John Gibler travels across Mexico and slips behind the frontlines to talk with people who live in towns under assault: newspaper reporters and crime-beat photographers, funeral parlor workers, convicted drug traffickers, government officials, cab drivers and others who find themselves living on the lawless frontiers of the drug war. Gibler tells hair-raising stories of wild street battles, kidnappings, narrow escapes, politicians on the take, and the ordinary people who fight for justice as they seek solutions to the crisis that is tearing Mexico apart. Fast-paced and urgent, To Die in Mexico is an extraordinary look inside the raging drug war, and its global implications.

"Gibler's front-line reportage coupled with first-rate analysis gives an uncommonly vivid and nuanced picture of a society riddled and enervated by corruption, shootouts, and raids, where murder is the 'most popular method of conflict resolution.' . . . At great personal risk, the author unearths stories the mainstream media doesn't–or is it too afraid–to cover, and gives voice to those who have been silenced or whose stories have been forgotten." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Gibler argues passionately to undercut this 'case study in failure.' The drug barons are only getting richer, the murders mount and the police and military repression expand as 'illegality increases the value of the commodity.' With legality, both U.S. and Mexican society could address real issues of substance abuse through education and public-health initiatives. A visceral, immediate and reasonable argument." —Kirkus Reviews

"Gibler provides a fascinating and detailed insight into the history of both drug use in the US and the 'war on drugs' unleashed by Ronald Reagan through the very plausible – but radical – lens of social control. . . . Throughout this short but powerful book, Gibler accompanies journalists riding the grim carousel of death on Mexico's streets, exploring the realities of a profession under siege in states such as Sinaloa and just how they cover the drugs war." —Gavin O’Toole, The Latin American Review of Books

John Gibler is a writer based in Mexico and California, the author of Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt (City Lights Books, 2009), and a contributor to País de muertos: Crónicas contra la impunidad (Random House Mondadori, 2011). He is a correspondent for KPFA in San Francisco and has published in magazines in the United States and Mexico, including Left Turn, Z Magazine, Earth Island Journal, ColorLines, Race, Poverty, and the Environment Fifth Estate, New Politics, In These Times, Yes! Magazine, Contralínea, and Milenio Semanal.

"I have many scars. Some of them are physical, but many more are scars on my soul. A bomb sent to kill me while I was in a maximum security prison has made me blind, yet now I see the world more clearly than I have ever seen it before. I have lived an incredible adventure. I watched as my brother, Pablo Escobar, became the most successful criminal in history, but also a hero to many of the people of Colombia. My brother was loved and he was feared. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in his funeral procession, and certainly as many people celebrated his death."
These are the words of Roberto Escobar-the top accountant for the notorious and deadly Medellín Cartel, and brother of Pablo Escobar, the most famous drug lord in history. At the height of his reign, Pablo's multibillion-dollar operation smuggled tons of cocaine each week into countries all over the world. Roberto and his ten accountants kept track of all the money. Only Pablo and Roberto knew where it was stashed-and what it bought.
And the amounts of money were simply staggering. According to Roberto, it cost $2,500 every month just to purchase the rubber bands needed to wrap the stacks of cash. The biggest problem was finding a place to store it: from secret compartments in walls and beneath swimming pools to banks and warehouses everywhere. There was so much money that Roberto would sometimes write off ten percent as "spoilage," meaning either rats had chewed up the bills or dampness had ruined the cash.
Roberto writes about the incredible violence of the cartel, but he also writes of the humanitarian side of his brother. Pablo built entire towns, gave away thousands of houses, paid people's medical expenses, and built schools and hospitals. Yet he was responsible for the horrible deaths of thousands of people.
In short, this is the story of a world of riches almost beyond mortal imagination, and in his own words, Roberto Escobar tells all: building a magnificent zoo at Pablo's opulent home, the brothers' many escapes into the jungles of Colombia, devising ingenious methods to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States, bribing officials with literally millions of dollars-and building a personal army to protect the Escobar family against an array of enemies sworn to kill them.
Few men in history have been more beloved-or despised-than Pablo Escobar. Now, for the first time, his story is told by the man who knew him best: his brother, Roberto.
In this riveting and relentless nonfiction thriller, award-winning investigative reporter William C. Rempel tells the harrowing story of former Cali cartel insider Jorge Salcedo, an ordinary man facing an extraordinary dilemma—a man forced to risk everything to escape the powerful and treacherous Cali crime syndicate.

Colombia in the 1990s is a country in chaos, as a weak government battles guerrilla movements and narco-traffickers, including the notorious Pablo Escobar and his rivals in the Cali cartel. Enter Jorge Salcedo, a part-time soldier, a gifted engineer, a respected businessman and family man—and a man who despises Pablo Escobar for patriotic and deeply personal reasons. He is introduced to the godfathers of the Cali cartel, who are at war with Escobar and desperately want their foe dead. With mixed feelings, Jorge agrees to help them.

Once inside, Jorge rises to become head of security for Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, principal godfather of the $7-billion-a-year Cali drug cartel. Jorge tries to turn a blind eye to the violence, corruption, and brutality that surround him, and he struggles privately to preserve his integrity even as he is drawn deeper into the web of cartel operations. Then comes an order from the godfathers that he can’t obey—but can’t refuse. Jorge realizes that his only way out is to bring down the biggest, richest crime syndicate of all time.

Thus begins a heart-pumping roller-coaster ride of intensifying peril. Secretly aided by a pair of young American DEA agents, Jorge races time and cartel assassins to extract damaging evidence, help capture the fugitive godfather, and save the life of a witness targeted for murder. Through it all, death lurks a single misstep away.

William C. Rempel is the only reporter with access to this story and to Jorge, who remains in hiding somewhere in the United States—even the author doesn’t know where—but has revealed his experience in gripping detail. Salcedo’s is the story of one extraordinary ordinary man forced to risk everything to end a nightmare of his own making.
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