For the past two decades, the illegal drug trade has plunged parts of Mexico into chaos.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Until the 1980s, it was the Colombians who had a monopoly on the drug business in the Americas. Mexican players were mostly couriers.
But in a forthcoming book, L.A. Times reporter William C. Rempel shows how in 1989 the Colombians unwittingly ceded the bulk of drug trade to Mexican groups.
In a preview of the book, Rempel shows how a financial standoff in 1989 prompted Amado Carrillo Fuentes, a Mexican who ran a smuggling route near Juarez, to halt deliveries.
As the stalemate dragged on and the Colombians refused to pay higher fees, drugs began piling up in warehouses, Rempel writes.
Eventually, law enforcement was tipped off to the bounty of stalled shipments. The resulting drug bust on Sept. 28, 1989, is still the largest cocaine bust in history, according to Rempel.
The bust cost the Colombians dearly. Carillo’s ploy had worked, and the balance of power shifted forever.
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