If the CIA trafficking cocaine into the United States sounds like some tin foil conspiracy theory, think again. Their alleged role in the drug trade was exposed in 1996 in an explosive investigative series “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb for the San Jose Mercury News. The investigation, headed up by Webb revealed ties between the CIA, Nicaraguan Contras and the crack cocaine trade ravaging African-American communities.
The investigation provoked massive protests and congressional hearings, as well as overt backlash from the mainstream media to discredit Webb’s reporting. However, decades later, officials would come forward to back Webb’s original investigation up.
Then-senator John Kerry even released a detailed report claiming that not only was there “considerable evidence” linking the Contra effort to trafficking of drugs and weapons but that the U.S. government knew about it.
El Patron, as Escobar came to be known, amassed more wealth than almost any drug dealer in history at one point raking in around $420 million a week in revenue and reportedly supplied about 80 percent of the world’s cocaine. Escobar landed on Forbes’ list of international billionaires for seven straight years, and though the nature of the business makes acquiring solid numbers impossible his estimated worth was around $30 billion.
Escobar and the Medellín cartel smuggled 15 tons of cocaine into the U.S. every day and left a trail of thousands of dead bodies to do so.
“It was a nine-hundred-mile run from the north coast of Colombia and was simply wide-open,” journalist Ioan Grillo wrote in the book, “El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency.” “The Colombians and their American counterparts would airdrop loads of blow out to sea, from where it would be rushed ashore in speedboats, or even fly it right onto the Florida mainland and let it crash down in the countryside.”
If what Marroquín reveals in the new book is, indeed, true, it would mean the CIA played a major role in ensuring Americans had access to boundless quantities of cocaine while the U.S. government sanctimoniously railed against drugs to promote the drug war.
In fact, as Marroquín keenly observes, drug prohibition makes for the best pro-drug propaganda the nature of something being illegal naturally gives it greater appeal.
That prohibition guaranteed Escobar’s bloody reign would be all the more violent. Marroquín now believes “his path of healing is reconciliation with the relatives of those whom his father ordered to kill.”
While Escobar certainly used violence, or ordered others to use violence, to effectively foment and maintain power, he wasn’t without a charitable bone in his body. As Business Insider notes, “He was nicknamed Robin Hood’ after handing out cash to the poor, building housing for the homeless, constructing 70 community soccer fields, and building a zoo.”