DRUG LORDS : The Rise and Fall of the Cali Cartel The World's Most Powerful Criminal Organisation Paperback – 1 Apr 2005
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'A explosive expose ... gripping stuff.' -- MAXIM
'An epic tale of big business, greed, violence and corruption.'
-- THE NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL
'If you liked Mark Bowden's 'Killing Pablo', you'll love this.' -- FHM
The most detailed study of the murky world of narcotics traffickers this reviewer has seen. Highly recommended.' -- CHOICE MAGAZINE
About the Author
Ron Chepesiuk is the author of 18 books, including "Hard Target: The US's War with International Drug Trafficking, 1982-1997" and "War on Drugs: An International Encyclopedia." He is a Fulbright Scholar and teached writing in the journalism program for UCLA's Extension Division.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story of the Cali Cartel is undoubtedly a really interesting story (possibly more so than the Medellin Cartel) and this is an interesting read but IMO it is not brilliantly written - typo's, grammatical errors and some inconsistency here and there. Worth a read but a bit "tabloid" in my view.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Chepesiuk's investigative reporter approach has resulted in the most thorough study of Colombian drug trafficking to this date. His use of hundreds of personal interviews, government documents, news media accounts, and the findings of other experts in the field leaves no stone unturned. His sources of information are truly impressive.
Beginning with a small time drug encounter in New York City, Chepesiuk cleverly describes how the U.S. government slowly began to realize that our nation faced a serious threat of the importation of cocaine, coming from Colombia. At first, agents found it difficult to accept the fact that cocaine had replaced heroin as America's major drug problem.
To gain an understanding of the problem, American agents, working in the United States and Colombia, worked with their Colombian counterparts to observe and infiltrate Colombia's growing drug cartels. Chepesiuk shows how these efforts grew, and through some very hard work, and often a bit of good luck, resulted in destruction of the two leading cartels.
As the book unfolds, leading "characters" are described and analyzed. These include American agents, cartel leaders and underlings, and Colombian politicians and law enforcement officers. Very early on, one begins to understand the enormous power and influence of the two leading Columbians drug cartels, the Cali cartel and the Medellin cartel. The amazing story of how these two groups grew from small time operations into Fortune 500 type businesses, with billions of dollars in assets, is told in captivating narrative which keeps the reader's attention from beginning to end. Always entwined with these developments are the ever growing hostility between the cartels, the enormous level of corruption within Colombian society and certain American lawyers, and the sophistication of operations and efforts to combat these illegal activities.
The destruction of the cartels is a spellbinding chronicle. Their demise resulted largely from four factors: the misstep of key players, the growth of successful strategies by American and Colombian officials, the deadly war between the two cartels, and some pure luck. In any event, the houses came tumbling down.
Finally, Chepesiuk skillfully relates the present War on Terrorism to the War on Drugs as described in the book. He shows their many similarities and predicts that a heavy price will be paid if lessons from the previous War are not learned and applied to the present War. This section of the book turns it from a brilliant description of a fascinating struggle into a powerful warning that must be carefully considered by our nation's leaders.
This is book is highly recommended for readers who want an inside and entertaining look at the world of organized crime and the War on Drugs.
There were also a few instances where I read something that was not fully explained, just thrown out there with assumed knowledge of the reader - I guess. For instances, the "left-handed window." There is absolutely no mention of what that means and I only know what it means by reading another book, however it would've been if the author would tell the reader what it is. I mean, he (the author) threw it and threw out a fact but did not tie the two together and explain what that term mean. Again, another example of to many facts, too much info = TOO CONFUSING A BOOK!
I also found it fascinating to read how the Cali Cartel outwitted their bitter rival, Pablo Escobar, in a brutal war that has no parallel in organized crime history. Then the Cali Cartel almost got away with taking over Colombia! As this well-written book shows, the War on Drugs may be futile, but the drug agents working the streets to protect the public against illegal drugs are real heroes. Highly recommended