Despite Bob Dole’s accusations, George Bush had not been a totally ineffectual as commanding general in the Reagan drug war. In the mid-1980s, Bush successfully clamped down on the free-for-all in Florida where cocaine was pouring in by ship, plane, mule, and diplomatic pouch. Miami was then the port of entry for most of the Colombian product, and as business arrangements shifted from day to day, the murder rate in Dade County skyrocketed. To stem the tide of white powder and violence, Vice President Bush created an inter-agency strike team called the South Florida Task Force and set out to attack the smugglers by land, sea, and air. Customs and Border Patrol agents were pulled off the Canadian and Mexican frontiers and reassigned to the Sunshine State, and ten Coast Guard cutters fitted for night operation went into action in the Carribean as AWACS jets circled above the fray directing airborne interceptors in Blackhawk helicopters. All this heat had the desired effect, and once again, the law of unintended consequence crowned success with disaster.
For years there had been a casual relationship between Mexican marijuana smugglers and the Colombian cartels, and with the Florida corridor suddenly awash in lawmen, the cocaine traffic shifted almost overnight to the land route through Mexico. At first the Mexicans were operating strictly as cargo handlers, picking the drug up from the Colombians on one side of the line and handing it back to them on the other for $1,000 a kilo. But in the early 1990s when the cartels were in a death struggle with the Colombian government, cash flow became a problem and they started paying the Mexicans off in cocaine. Since the muchachos already had a vast marijuana distribution network in the U.S., this new product line—pound for pound a hundred times more valuable than marijuana—was like rocket fuel in the gas tank of a low-rider. A laid-back culture imbued with a tradition of mordida and skilled at corruption was suddenly supercharged.
Throughout its tormented history, Mexico has been plagued by exemplary economic inequality. Most of the nation’s wealth is in the hands of about 30 families, while a fifth of the people live on less than a dollar a day. The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party has routinely stolen the elections since its inception sixty years ago, creating a fertile climate for under-the-table payoffs. Almost everybody seems to be on the take, from the garbage man to the presidential cabinet, where a suitable gift of cash might get you appointed, say, Commandante of the Federal Judicial Police for Baja Califorinia Norte. For decades, cabinet officers and presidents routinely left office with unexplained fortunes. In the old days, mordida—the “bite”—was accepted as an efficient lubricator, a means of getting things done while sharing the wealth in an otherwise unequal society. But with the arrival of the narco-billions everything shifted gears.
In 1988, after a key official in the previous administration was implicated in the torture-killing of a U.S. drug agent, President Carlos Salinas took office with a promise not to tolerate any more high-level corruption. He came out swinging and
immediately landed a stunning blow with the arrest of Angel Felix Gallardo—Mexico’s very own “Godfather,”—along with his palace guard of some 80 state and local cops. But this impressive strike turned out to be the high point of the Salinas drug war and from here it was all down hill. And though there were plenty of warning signs—like the runway shootout at Veracruz where the army and the police faced off over a planeload of cocaine—the extent of the decay was largely hidden from view.
Then at a quarter to four on the afternoon of May 24, 1993, Juan Cardinal Posadas Ocampo, Archbishop of Guadalajara, arrived at Hidalgo International Airport to meet the Papal Nuncio. It was an auspicious moment. The Mexican government and the Vatican had been on the outs for most of this century but President Salinas was determined to normalize relations, and the arrival of the Pope’s personal ambassador would be the capstone of this effort. As the Archbishop’s driver wheeled into the parking lot across from the terminal, a young man yanked open the door and blasted His Eminence with fourteen slugs, killing him instantly. Half-a-dozen other gunmen sprayed the scene, killing the driver and five bystanders, including an old woman and her nephew and a startled businessman with a cell phone in his hand.
The hit men stuffed their weapons into carry-on bags and ran to the terminal flashing police badges, where they boarded Aeromexico flight 110 for Tijuana—which was supposed to have left twenty minutes earlier but was held at the gate for these very important passengers—and during the two-hour flight from Guadalajara to Tijuana, nobody bothered to call ahead with the information that the killers were on board. There was, however, a contingent of Federal Judicial Police waiting in Tijuana, but they were there simply to escort the assassins to the U.S. border, where they vanished into the night.
Like a manhole cover blowing off a sewer, this event got everybody’s attention. Even in Sicily, you can’t murder a prince of the church without rattling the foundation, and the resulting
upheaval exposed an ominous spectre of moral and political decomposition. The Catholic hierarchy was convinced that the Archbishop had been targeted by narco-traffickers because of his outspoken condemnation of the drug trade, but there was another explanation that was almost as revolting. Cardinal Ocampo may have simply had the bad luck to reach the airport at the same instant as Joaquin Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel. The rival Tijuana gang happened to be lying in wait.
These antagonists were all former proteges of Angel Felix Gallardo, the imprisoned Godfather of Sinaloa, and when Angel went down he passed control to his blood relatives, the Arrellano Felix brothers of Tijuana. But a splinter group under Guzman and “Guero” Palma set up shop on their own, and according to one Mexican official, the Godfather flipped out. “Felix, like the twisted old man that he is, sends a group of Venezuelan narcos, to infiltrate Guero’s family.” The leader of this squad then ran off with Guero Palma’s wife and two small children, and after persuading the woman to withdraw $7 million of Guero’s money from a bank in San Francisco, he cut off her head and mailed it back to Guero in a hatbox. Then he took the two children to Venezuela and threw them off a bridge. “After that… the Arellanos know it is kill or be killed.” The ambush at the airport was apparently just the latest tit-for-tat, and the ill-starred Cardinal happened to pull up in a Mercury Grand Marquis, a favored ride of the drug lords.
No matter which version the public went for, the Mexican government looked ridiculous. The mortification reverberated from Rome to Washington and back again—NAFTA was being debated at the time—and President Salinas dispatched truckloads of police to Tijuana to track down the killers. Warrants were issued for Benjamin and Javier Arrellano Felix who were said to have personally led the hit squad. Police locked up dozens of suspects—including Guzman—and 70 police commanders and prosecutors were arrested or fired. But the Arellano Felix brothers refused to play the part of the most
wanted men in Mexico. They were repeatedly spotted in shopping malls and restaurants, and everybody seemed to know where they were but the cops. As one investigation after another collapsed, Mexico City finally sent in an elite federal squad of untouchables under the respected commander Alejandro Castaneda. The new man had an immediate impact. In a series of lightning raids, Castaneda arrested two dozen cartel soldiers and seized millions of dollars in Arrellano assets. The brothers were still at large but Castenada was breathing down their necks.
On the evening of March 3, 1994, Castenada and his team staked out a cartel safe house in upscale Tijuana. Just after eight, the gates opened and a red Chevy Suburban with tinted windows pulled onto the road heading downtown. Castenada and his crew followed in a pair of blue Suburbans, and as they cruised through traffic along Boulevard Diaz Ordaz, they came alongside the suspects and motioned the driver to pull over. The caravan halted at a busy intersection ringed with shopping centers—BAM—the windows on the red Suburban disintegrated as gunmen inside opened fire with heavy weapons. Somehow all this flying lead missed Castenada, and he and his men returned fire as screaming pedestrians scattered like chickens.
This time Castenada had numbers on his side and his troops quickly overwhelmed the gunmen, killing three and wounding most of the others. As they handcuffed the survivors, Castenada realized they’d hit the jackpot. The 25-year-old kid he had face down on the pavement was Javier Arrellano Felix. Just then, another squad of lawmen arrived. A carload of Baja State Police piled out and one officer walked up to Castenada and shot him in the back with an AK 47. In the violent gun battle that followed, the federal troops were driven off. Young Javier Arrellano Felix was plucked from the sidewalk, hustled away from all this untidyness, and with the assistance of a Baja state attorney general, he was given safe passage back to the land of Oz.
Naturally there was a wave of public outrage at this grotesque betrayal, but it crashed without effect three weeks later—
overwhelmed by the assassination of presidential candidate Donald Luis Colosio at a political rally in Tijuana. If there was any doubt that Mexico was swirling down the same drainpipe as Colombia, the killing of Colosio—a reformer in the mold of Carlos Galan—should have put it to rest.
The traditional “lone deranged gunman” was arrested and he dutifully confessed, and then was hustled off stage when it became clear that nobody would go for this version. For one thing, the candidate was shot from two directions, and videotapes seemed to show at least six men working together to block Colosio’s path while deflecting his bodyguards and making way for the killers. President Salinas shipped hundreds of reinforcements to Tijuana but the pursuit of the killers went nowhere. Shortly after the assassination, the Tijuana chief of police was being interviewed by an American reporter when he discovered that his secret files on the case had vanished. The next day, he was killed. A few days later the special prosecutor was about to board a government jet to Tijuana when the police found a bomb on his plane. He decided to re-consider the “lone-deranged-gunman” theory, and a few days later he handed Salinas his resignation along with a report concluding there was no conspiracy. Salinas appointed another special prosecutor, and he was followed in turn by a parade of senior officials who would unsuccessfully track the braided threads of Colosio, the Cardinal, and the Tijuana cartel. One by one these top lawmen would be compromised or eliminated. By 1996 the combat life expectancy for Tijuana prosecutors was about the same as a World War II tail gunner. Sergio Armando Silva of the judicial police was cut down in February. Prosecutor Arturo Ochoa Palacios was killed while jogging at a health club in April. Prosecutor Sergio Moreno Perez was kidnapped and murdered along with his son in May. Former police commander Isaac Sanchez Perez was shot to death in July. Prosecutor Jesus Romero Magana was gunned down in front of his house in August. At this moment Ernesto Ibarra Santes, a close friend of slain police captain Alejandro Castenada, took over as federal police
commander and vowed not only to avenge his fallen comrade, but to end corruption in the ranks. He lasted 28 days. On September 14, after flying to Mexico City in secret, he and his aides were blown to bits by machine gunners who pulled alongside on the way in from the airport. Meanwhile, Javier Arrellano Felix continued to be spotted from time to time, driving through the beach community of Playas de Tijuana in a white Mercedes.
But by the time Carlos Salinas left office, the thrilling and fruitless pursuit of the Arrellano Felix brothers would turn out to be a mere sideshow of the main event. In September of 1994, six months after the Colosio assassination, a senior PRI party official, Francisco Ruiz Massieu, was shot to death in downtown Mexico City. Here was yet another widely respected reformer dropped in his tracks in broad daylight, and an outraged President Salinas vowed to get to the bottom of it. He took the unusual step of naming the dead man’s brother, Deputy Attorney General Mario Ruiz Massieu, as special prosecutor. Surely the victim’s blood brother could be trusted above all others to pursue the truth wherever it might lead.
Wrong again. After an initial burst of arrests, the investigation quickly ran aground, and U.S. intelligence officials thought they knew why. They suspected that Mario Ruiz Massieu had been bought and paid for. As Deputy Attorney General, he was chief of the Federal Judical Police—the country’s front-line anti-narcotics force—and therefore, at the pinnacle of a nation-wide pyramid of kickbacks. Mario had one of the most coveted jobs in Mexican law enforcement. “He decided which police chief got which region,” said a senior Mexican official. “One of the good regions like Tamaulipas or the other border states can sell for $1 million to $2 million.” But why would President Salinas have appointed an investigator who was so obviously compromised? One possibility came to light shortly after Salinas left office in December of 1994.
President Ernesto Zedillo came on stage with the standard promise to end high-level corruption once and for all, then shocked everyone by installing a member of the opposition as
Attorney General. When the new man began digging into the Ruiz Massieu business he discovered that his predecessor had systematically covered up a trail of evidence leading directly to the former President’s older brother, Raul. As Mexicans watched in astonishment, Raul Salinas, untouchable member of the ruling class, was hauled away and charged with the murder of Francisco Ruiz Massieu. Suddenly the air was full of feathers. Mario Ruiz Massieu caught the next plane out but he was stopped at Newark Airport with $47,000 in his pocket. Shortly thereafter investigators discovered another $9 million stashed in a Houston bank. But Ruiz Massieus’s stash paled in comparison to the $120 million discovered in a Swiss bank account maintained by the former president’s brother, Raul. Officials on both sides of the border charged that all this unexplained cash was tied to drug payoffs.
But these winnings, though impressive, were peanuts compared to the wealth of the man Ruiz Massieu and Raul Salinas were said to be protecting. Juan Garcia Abrego, head of the Gulf cartel, was worth some $15 billion. At a time when all that heat was focused on Tijuana, Abrego was running a wide-open operation out of Matamoros into Brownsville, Texas, and it was generally understood that he had protection at the highest levels. A police officer who showed up at one of Abrego’s fiestas reported that guests were arriving like Arabian princes in a procession of Learjets, and among the bankers, criminals, and off-duty cops, was the president’s brother. As Raul Salinas stepped off the plane, he received a warm abrazo from the host. “When I saw them greet each other, I knew that Abrego was untouchable.”
Two years later, as if someone had thrown a switch, Abrego’s protection vanished when Salinas left office. Shortly thereafter Abrego was captured and hustled out of the country to face several life sentences in Houston. Subsequently, investigators claimed that Raul Salinas had made a deal to protect Abrego as long as his brother was president. But when Mexican
prosecutors suggested calling former president Carlos Salinas in for questioning, he immediately left town. He has since settled in Ireland and has threatened to sue anyone who suggests he or his family had anything to do with the drug trade.
With the nation’s law enforcement institutions collapsing around him, President Zedillo finally turned in desperation to the army. By now it was clear that the Federal Judicial Police were so riddled with corruption it was hard to tell who they were working for. When Zedillo’s new police chief took over the force at the end of 1994, he discovered that most of his men never even bothered to pick up their paychecks because their salary was such a pittance compared to their real income. But just as the new man was about to clean house, he was poisoned in his sleep—left alive, totally paralyzed. Zedillo, surrounded by treachery, decided to put his faith in military discipline. In December of 1996, he named Army General Jose de Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo as Mexico’s drug czar, a move that was met with resounding applause in Washington. The U.S. had been pressuring Zedillo for some time to get the army involved because that was about the only institution left with a shred of integrity. Gutierrez—a tough minded drug warrior who had personally led the raid on Guero Palma of the Sinaloa cartel—was clearly the man for the job. And since President Clinton’s new drug czar was also a three-star general, the two men hit it off immediately. After meeting Gutierrez in Mexico City, General Barry McCaffrey said, “He has a reputation of impeccable integrity… He’s a deadly serious guy.” McCaffrey predicted a new era in U.S.-Mexican cooperation and promised better sharing of intelligence and 50 new helicopters.
Eleven weeks later the Mexican government announced that General Gutierrez was in a maximum security prison, charged with taking bribes and protecting the nation’s number one drug lord. It seems the General had indeed been tough on
traffickers, but selectively. A check of the records revealed one cartel he never touched.
Now yet another arch-fiend—number fifteen—took center stage in the pantheon of ultimate cocaine kingpins. While the world’s attention had been focused on either end of the Mexican border, this operation was apparently hard at work in the middle. Across the river from El Paso in Juarez, a sophisticated young entrepreneur named Amado Carrillo Fuentes was picking up the pieces of the Abrego and Sinaloa cartels and knitting them into a vast combine. In the cocaine trade as in any industry, the original rough-and-tumble adventurers are replaced by technocrats as the business matures, and Señor Carrillo was said to be a skilled mediator. “He’s more like the Cali people,” said a U.S. lawman. “He tries to keep the heat away and not provoke acts of violence.” But within his own organization, Carrillo reportedly ran a tight ship. When one of his loads was seized, they said he just killed everybody who knew anything about it and that way he was certain to get the informant. This kind of ruthless efficiency paid handsome dividends. By syndicating large shipments and assigning different smuggling tasks to different partners, he began to achieve economies of scale his predecessors never dreamed of. His stronghold in Juarez was peaceful, with gun battles rare, and car bombings unheard of. That quiet, according to U.S. officials, was the sound of business booming. His weekly gross was estimated at $200 million. But Amado Carrillo was more than willing to share. By some accounts, he was laying as much as 60 percent of the proceeds on his close friends in government. Among his many thoughtful gestures was paying the rent on a lavish Mexico City apartment occupied by the nation’s drug czar, General Jose de Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo.
The U.S. Congress erupted at this news. Since Gutierrez had complete access to the most sensitive intelligence, it was likely that the names of agents, witnesses, targets, watch lists, and operational plans were now in Carrillo’s hands. But President Clinton chose to look at the bright side. He praised the Mexican
government for quick action. “They’re obviously saying… ‘We will not tolerate corruption… even if it’s at the highest level… And so I’m encouraged by that.”
Meanwhile, in Mexico as in Colombia, the brave and honest had all been slaughtered and the compromisers were forced to dance on their graves.
The Reagan-Bush Andean Strategy was intended to stamp out drug production in Latin America by the end of 1995. Launched a decade earlier with bands playing and streamers flying, it was now dead in the water and aflame from wheelhouse to engine room. Although the drug warriors in Washington struggled to put the best face on it, the facts on the page were overwhelming. For a view of the global scale of the disaster, it would be hard to beat the State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. Despite the always impressive body counts of kingpins and coca fields, the bottom line was unremitting:
“…Worldwide coca cultivation rose to a new record of 530,000 acres in 1995…” “The discovery that Colombian traffickers were delivering multi-ton shipments of cocaine in jumbo jets underscored Mexico’s role…” “The Cali drug mafia has been using Poland as a local hub since the early 1990s, and apparently has been looking for a toehold in Hungary.” “Cocaine now moves freely also to Africa.” “Cocaine, in short, remains a growth industry in most of the world.”
Unfortunately that wasn’t the worst of it. Back in the late 1980s, the market-savvy Colombians spotted an interesting dichotomy. The profit margin on heroin, pound for pound, was more than triple the return on cocaine. A kilo of coke worth $2000 in Bogota might bring $30,000 in L.A., but the identical block of heroin—only $6000 in Colombia—could go for $100,000 up north.
With typical Colombian zeal, they decided to cut out the middleman. The high Andes proved perfectly hospitable
to opium poppies, and by 1991 local farmers already had some 3000 acres blossoming in the cloud forests. Meanwhile the production wing of the Cali cartel imported the best Asian chemists money could buy, and within a couple of years they were flooding the market with heroin so clean and cheap that a whole new generation of unsuspecting users began walking into the jaws of addiction wondering what the hell happened. The Colombian product turned out to be an astonishing 95 percent pure—practically pharmaceutical grade—and it was dropped into a market that was used to 95 percent garbage. You didn’t have to inject this stuff. It was so powerful you could sprinkle it on cigarette tobacco, and two tokes later… not a care in the world. Since there were no ugly needles involved, kids got the impression it wasn’t dangerous. Of course the opposite was true, but once again the well-intentioned scare tactics of the prohibitionists backfired. Cool Gen-Xers knew from experience that government claims about marijuana were exaggerated, so they assumed the grownups were lying about heroin as well. This time, for a change, the grownups were telling the truth. According to the State Department, the U.S. addict population—stable for twenty years—suddenly jumped 20 percent. The number of heroin-related emergency episodes doubled from 1990 to 1995.
But it is the downstream effect of this tidal wave of catastrophe that is perhaps the most unsettling. The river of money that has washed away law and order and submerged one Latin country after another is still rising, and the crest of the flood is nowhere in sight. The U.S. border with Mexico is no more impervious to the tide of corruption than it was to killer bees. So if the drug lords are spending as much as $100 million a week on their friends in government south of the border, how much are they spending in the north?
- New York Times, May 5, 91,I:11
- Fortune Magazine, Sep 4, 95, p100
- The Washington Post, Natl Weekly Edition, Mar 20-26, 95, p10 — His predecessor, Miguel de la Madrid, enabled major drug-trafficking cartels to escape prosecution for the 1985 torture-killing of DEA agent Enrique Camerena. The killing of Camarena by members of the Guadalajara drug cartel, with the complicity of high-ranking Mexican government officials, created a firestorm in bilateral relations.
- New York Times, Nov 29, 91, A,I:3
- New York Times, May 25, 93 A,1
- New York Times, May 26, 93 A,1
- Gov Ernesto Ruffo Appel Los Angeles Times, Oct 4 96 A30
- The Nation, Jul 10,95, 50
- New York Times, May 26, 93, A,1:6
- Los Angeles Times, Jun 16, 95, A1]
- Los Angeles Times, Jan 11, 96, A18; Jun 16, 95, A21
- Los Angeles Times, Mar 7, 94, A1
- Los Angeles Times, Mar 5, 94, A1; Mar 7, 94, A1; Jun 16, 95, A21; Sep 16, 96, A,1 “Crusade to Avenge Friend Perished With Baja Official;” Oct 4, 96, A1. 14. The Wall Street Journal, Feb 27, 95, A9 15. The Washington Post, Natl. Weekly Edition, Mar 20-26, 95, 10
- Los Angeles Times, Aug 20, 96, “Another Mexican Oficial Is Slain;” Aug 21, 96, A10
- Los Angeles Times, Sept 15, 96, A1, “Baja Police Chief Slain After Vowing Shake-Up”
- The Washington Post, Natl. Weekly Edition, Mar 20-26, 95, 10; New York Times, Mar 11, 95, I,3
- New York Times, Nov 12, 96, “Mexican Aide’s Millions: US Charges Drug Link;” Mar 11, 95, I,3 — “Mexican officials Charged deputy attorney general Mario Ruiz Massieu of trying to thwart an investigation into his brother’s assassination last year, and also engaged in the embezzlement of more than $750,000 in government money. They say he hid about $10 million. Riuz Massieu was charged on Monday with intimidating witnesses and falsifying evidence in the investigation he led last fall into his borother’s death in order to protect Raul Salinas de Gortari. Salinas was arrested last week and has been charged with ordering the killing and paying of governing party congressman, Manuel Munoz Rocha, to have it carried out.
- Los Angeles Times, Feb 17, 97, “Ex-Officials in Mexico Tied to Drug Lord, Report Asserts;” Mar 13, 97, A1, “Testimony Ties Former Top Mexican Officials to Cartels.”
- Fortune, Sep 4, 95, 100, “Juan Garcia Abrego boasts a net worth of some $15 billion from his control of the northeastern Mexican cocaine routes.”
- Newsweek, Jun 12, 95, 37
- Los Angeles Times, Jun 15, 95, A17 — Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni, former commander of elite federal anti-drug squads — also named in last year’s Texas trial as a protector of the Gulf
cartel — told investigators that he had personally delivered to Raul recordings of telephone wiretaps of opposition politicians. Said one investigator, “He said he was aware of the relationship between Gulf cartel chief Juan Garcia Abrego and Raul. He said Raul had meetings
with Abrego and that Raul served as a front for Abrego through his companies.” Newsweek, Jun 12, 95, p37 — According to one well-placed US investigator, Garcia dipped into his till to fund a
campaign of intimidations and wiretapping that Raul Salinas allegedly conducted in the run-up to Carlos Salinas’s fraud-tainted elections. New York Times, Feb 23, 97, A,4: U.S. intelligence officials also reported on meetings where other traffickers gave cash to Raul Salinas, who parcelled it out to various senior politicians in the room.
- Los Angeles Time, Feb 17, 97, A4
- Los Angeles Times Jun 25, 95, Op-ed, “Army shouldn’t Fight War Against Drug Lords,” by Andrew A. Reding.
- Los Angeles Times, Dec 12, 96, A,17; New York Times, Feb 19, 97 “Mexican Drug Chief Ousted on Bribe Charge”
- Los Angeles Times, Feb 19, 97, A1
- Juan Matta Belestros, Carlos Lehder, Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, Pablo Escobar, Fabio Ochoa, Jorge Luis Ochoa, Miguel Angel Rodriguez Orejuela, Gilberto Orjuela, Angel Felix Gallardo, Joaquin Guzman, Hector Luis Palma, Javier Arrellano Felix, Benjamin Arrellano Felix, Juan Garcia Abrego, Amado Carrillo Fuentes…
- The Dallas Morning News, Oct 12, 96, 1A
- New York Times, 30, 95, A,8
- New York Times, Jul 30, 95, A,1.
- The Washington Post, Feb 19, 1997, A1,A22
- Peter Lupscha, Univ. of New Mexico, KPFK interview with Ian Masters, Mar 2, 97 Houston Chronicle, Aug 18, 95, op-ed, Javier Rodriguez 34. New York Times, Feb 20, 97 “Mexico’s Jailed Drug Chief Had Full Briefings in U.S.”
- New York Times, Feb 21, 97, “Clinton Says Mexico’s Firmness Is Bright Side of Drug Scandal.”
- U.S. Dept. of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, March 1996, “Coca and Cocaine”
- U.S. Dept. of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, March 1996, “Estimated Wordwide Potential Illicit Drug Net Production, 1986-1995 38. U.S. Dept. of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, March 1996, “Status of Worldwide Production.”
- NCADI: 1996 DAWN Survey, “Annual Trends in Heroin-Related Episodes.
- Professor Peter Lupscha, University of New Mexico, Interview with Ian Masters, KPFK Radio, March 2, 1997. According to Lupscha, the DEA estimates the Mexican cocaine trade at $10 billion anually, the Defense Intelligence Agency says it’s closer to $17 billion, and Mexican authorities put it as high as $30 billion. If, as some authorities claim, 60 percent goes for bribes, that would put the payoff in the range of $6 to $18 billion