Drug lord

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A drug lord, drug baron, kingpin, or narcotrafficker is a high ranking crime boss who controls a sizable network of people involved in the illegal drug trade. Such figures are often difficult to bring to justice, as they are normally not directly in possession of something illegal, but are insulated from the actual trade in drugs by several layers of underlings. The prosecution of drug lords is therefore usually the result of carefully planned infiltration into their networks, often using informants from within the organization.

Illegal drug trade global black market

The illegal drug trade or drug trafficking is a global black market dedicated to the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs that are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs through the use of drug prohibition laws.

Informant person who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency

An informant is a person who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency. The term is usually used within the law enforcement world, where they are officially known as confidential or criminal informants (CI). It can also refer pejoratively to someone who supplies information without the consent of the involved parties. The term is commonly used in politics, industry, entertainment and academia.

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Notorious drug lords

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Guzmán is the most significant drug lord in history. [1] He is well known for his use of sophisticated tunnels—similar to the one located in Douglas, Arizona—to smuggle cocaine from Mexico into the United States in the early 1990s. In 1993, a 7.3-ton shipment of his cocaine, concealed in cans of chili peppers and destined for the United States, was seized in Tecate, Baja California. That same year he barely escaped an ambush by the Tijuana Cartel led by Ramon Arellano Felix and his gunmen. After being captured in Guatemala, he was jailed in 1993 and in 1995 he was moved to the maximum-security prison called Puente Grande, but paid his way out of prison and hid in a laundry van as it drove through the gates. On 22 February 2014, Guzmán was arrested again. He is considered a folk hero in the narcotics world, celebrated by musicians who write and perform a narcocorridos (drug ballads) extolling his exploits. [2] For example, Los Traviezos recorded a ballad extolling his life on the run. [3] In July 2015, Guzman escaped a second time from a maximum-security prison through a hole in a shower floor that led to a mile-long tunnel, ending at a nearby house. [4] A large-scale manhunt ensued. On 8 January 2016, Guzmán was captured by the Mexican Marines. [5]

Drug Enforcement Administration United States federal law enforcement agency

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a United States federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and distribution within the United States. The DEA is the lead agency for domestic enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, sharing concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursuing US drug investigations both domestic and abroad.

Douglas, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Douglas is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States that lies in the north-west to south-east running San Bernardino Valley within which runs the Rio San Bernardino. Douglas has a border crossing with Mexico at Agua Prieta and a history of mining.

Cocaine chemical compound

Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Mental effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation. Physical symptoms may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature. Effects begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes. Cocaine has a small number of accepted medical uses such as numbing and decreasing bleeding during nasal surgery.

William Jardine

William Jardine (24 February 1784 – 27 February 1843) was a Scottish physician-turned-drug (opium) lord. [6] He also co-founded the Hong Kong-based conglomerate Jardine, Matheson & Co. In 1803, he became a surgeon's mate aboard the Brunswick belonging to the East India Company, and set sail for India. In May 1817, he abandoned medicine for drug trafficking. Jardine was a resident in China from 1820 to 1839. His early success in Canton (Guangzhou) as a commercial agent for drug (opium) merchants in India led to his admission in 1825 as a partner in Magniac & Co. In 1839, after Imperial Commissioner Lin Zexu destroyed 20,000 cases of opium that the British smuggled into China, Jardine arrived in London that September to press Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston for a forceful response. [7]

Guangzhou Prefecture-level and Sub-provincial city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Guangzhou, also known as Canton and formerly romanized as Kwangchow or Kwong Chow, is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China. On the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities.

Jorge Alberto Rodriguez

Jorge Alberto Rodríguez, also known as Don Cholito, is a notorious Colombian-Puerto Rican drug lord from the Bronx, New York, who headed The 400 criminal organization, a dismantled secret cell of the Cali Cartel. Pulled into the drug trade at age 12, he left home at age 14 to begin working for his father, Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, who headed the Cali Cartel.[ citation needed ] Within six years he had made hundreds of millions[ clarification needed ] by shipping drugs from Colombia to nearly every U.S. state. He was one of the most-ruthless international drug lords unknown to law enforcement or governments.[ citation needed ] During that time, the nation's[ clarification needed ] murder rate and cocaine-related hospital emergencies doubled.[ citation needed ] He was arrested in 1990 in Tallahassee, Florida and sentenced to a 25-year prison term for a number of federal violations. Following his conviction, Rodriguez continued to operate his illicit business from behind bars, importing as much as 12,500 kilograms (27,600 lb)[ clarification needed ] into the U.S. every month and ordering numerous murders of informants, witnesses, and law-enforcement officials in the U.S. and Colombia.[ citation needed ] He reigned and flourished while incarcerated until he was placed in court-ordered high-security isolation in 1994. [8] [9] [10]

The Bronx Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. It is south of Westchester County; northeast and east of Manhattan, across the Harlem River; and north of Queens, across the East River. Since 1914, the borough has had the same boundaries as Bronx County, the third-most densely populated county in the United States.

Cali Cartel disbanded drug cartel which was based in southern Colombia

The Cali Cartel was a drug cartel based in southern Colombia, around the city of Cali and the Valle del Cauca Department. Its founders were the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers, Gilberto and Miguel, and José Santacruz Londoño, also known as "Chepe". They broke away from Pablo Escobar and his Medellín associates in the late 1980s when Hélmer Herrera, also known as "Pacho", joined what became a four-man executive board that ran the cartel.

Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela Colombian drug lord, formerly one of the leaders of the Cali Cartel

Gilberto José Rodríguez Orejuela is a Colombian former drug lord, who once was one of the leaders of the Cali Cartel, based in the city of Cali.

Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar Pablo Escobar Mug.jpg
Pablo Escobar

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (December 1, 1949 – December 2, 1993) was a Colombian drug overlord. Often referred to as the "World's Greatest Outlaw", Escobar was perhaps the most elusive cocaine trafficker to have ever existed. [11] In 1989 Forbes magazine declared Escobar as the seventh-richest man in the world, with an estimated personal fortune of US$25 billion. [12] In 1986, he attempted to enter Colombian politics. It is said that Pablo Escobar once burnt two million dollars in cash to keep his daughter warm while on the run. [13]

<i>Forbes</i> American business magazine

Forbes is an American business magazine. Published bi-weekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, politics, and law. Its headquarters is located in Jersey City, New Jersey. Primary competitors in the national business magazine category include Fortune and Bloomberg Businessweek. The magazine is well known for its lists and rankings, including of the richest Americans, of the world's top companies, and The World's Billionaires. The motto of Forbes magazine is "The Capitalist Tool". Its chair and editor-in-chief is Steve Forbes, and its CEO is Mike Federle. It was sold to a Hong Kong-based investment group, Integrated Whale Media Investments.

Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco Griselda Blanco Medellin.jpg
Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco (1943–2012), known as the "Godmother of Cocaine", was a drug lord who operated between Miami and Colombia during the 1970s and 1980s. During the height of her operation, she smuggled nearly 1,600 kilograms (3,500 lb) of cocaine into the U.S. every month through a network in south Florida. [14] She was noted for her ruthlessness and use of extreme violence, employing tactics such as publicly assassinating people in broad daylight, bayoneting a rival trafficker inside Miami International Airport, and inventing the drive-by motorcycle shooting execution method. [15] [16] It was estimated that she was responsible for the homicides of 200 people in Colombia, Florida, New York, and California. [15] Arrested in 1985 for drug-trafficking charges, she was subsequently convicted and spent almost 20 years in a U.S. prison. [17] She was killed by motorcycle hitmen in Colombia on 3 September 2012 as she was coming out of a butcher's shop. [18]

Miami International Airport Airport in Miami FL

Miami International Airport, also known as MIA and historically as Wilcox Field, is the primary airport serving the Miami area, with over 1,000 daily flights to 167 domestic and International destinations. The airport is in an unincorporated area in Miami-Dade County, Florida, 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Downtown Miami, in metropolitan Miami, between the cities of Miami, Hialeah, Doral, Miami Springs, the village of Virginia Gardens, and the unincorporated Fontainebleau neighborhood.

A drive-by shooting is a type of assault that usually involves the perpetrator firing a weapon from within a motor vehicle and then fleeing. Drive-by shootings allow the perpetrator(s) to quickly strike their target and flee the scene before law enforcement is able to respond.

Roberto Suárez Gómez

Pablo Escobar started to buy cocaine from Roberto Suárez in the 1970s when he had just created the Medellín cartel.[ citation needed ] Suárez started building cocaine laboratories in the middle of the Bolivian Amazon jungle and in the zone of "Los Yungas" in the end of the 1960s and created the first cocaine cartel in Bolivia called "La Corporación".[ citation needed ] At first, the Medellin cartel bought cocaine at $8,000 per kilogram ($3,600/lb). La Corporación then sold cocaine-based paste to Colombian cartels, and they finished and distributed it in the east of the United States.[ citation needed ] The finished cocaine was sold directly to Mexican cartels for distribution in the west of the United States. Suárez received untold amounts of money, but as detectives and journalists discovered the corruption between Bolivia and the U.S., the empire Suárez built began to fall.[ citation needed ] Suárez was arrested by the DEA in 1988, and Escobar took over of the production and distribution of 80% of the world's cocaine.[ citation needed ]

Rick Ross

"Freeway" Rick Ross Ricky Donnell Ross.jpg
"Freeway" Rick Ross

Rick Ross (born January 28, 1960), [19] a.k.a. "Freeway" Ricky Ross, is a convicted drug-trafficker best known for the drug empire he presided over in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. [20] The nickname "Freeway" came from Ross growing up next to the 110 Harbor Freeway.[ citation needed ] During the height of his drug dealing, Ross was said to have made "$2 million in one day." According to the Oakland Tribune, "In the course of his rise, prosecutors estimate that Ross transported several tons of cocaine to New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, and made more than $600 million in the process." [21]

In 1998, Ross was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of purchasing more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from a federal agent during a sting operation. Ross became the subject of controversy later that year when a series of articles by journalist Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News revealed a connection between Ross's main cocaine source, Danilo Blandon, and the CIA as part of the Iran–Contra affair. [22] Ross's case went before the federal court of appeals and his sentence was reduced to 20 years. He was later moved to a halfway house in March 2009 and released from custody on September 29, 2009. [19]

In June 2014, Ross released his book, Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography , co-written by crime-writer Cathy Scott. [23]

Manuel Noriega

Manuel Noriega, following his arrest by U.S. authorities. Manuel Noriega mug shot.jpg
Manuel Noriega, following his arrest by U.S. authorities.

For more than a decade, Panamanian Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.[ citation needed ] Noriega facilitated "guns-for-drugs" flights for the Nicaraguan Contras, whom the U.S. were heavily supporting: providing protection and pilots, safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. [24] He was arrested in 1990.

Amado Carrillo Fuentes

As the top drug-trafficker in Mexico, Amado Carrillo (1956–1997) was transporting four times more cocaine to the U.S. than any other trafficker, building a fortune of over $25 billion.[ citation needed ] He was called El Señor de Los Cielos ("The Lord of the Skies") for his use of over 22 private 727 jet airliners to transport Colombian cocaine to municipal airports and dirt airstrips around Mexico, including Juárez.[ citation needed ] In the months before his death, the DEA described Carrillo as the most-powerful drug trafficker of his era, and many analysts claimed profits neared $25 billion, making him one of the world's wealthiest men.[ citation needed ]

Ramon Arellano Felix

Arellano Felix was a Mexican drug trafficker linked to the Tijuana drug cartel (a.k.a. the Arellano-Félix Organization). [25] Arellano Félix was allegedly one of the most ruthless members of the cartel and was a suspect in various murders. He had been linked by Mexican police to the 1997 massacre of twelve members of a family outside of Ensenada, Baja California. The family was related to a drug dealer that had an unpaid debt to the Arellano Félix Cartel.[ citation needed ] On September 18, 1997, Arellano Félix was placed on the FBI's ten most-wanted list. [26] In a sealed indictment in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, he was charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana.[ citation needed ]

Ismael Zambada García

Ismael Zambada García is a drug smuggler in Mexico. [27] Mexico's top anti-drug prosecutor, José Santiago Vasconcelos, called Zambada "drug dealer No. 1" and said the fugitive has become more powerful as his fellow kingpins have fallen, including one who was allegedly killed on Zambada's orders.[ citation needed ]

Klaas Bruinsma

Klaas Bruinsma (1953–1991) was a major Dutch drug lord, shot to death by mafia member and former police officer Martin Hoogland.[ citation needed ] Bruinsma was known as "De Lange" ("the tall one") and as "De Dominee" ("the preacher") because of his black clothing and his habit of lecturing others.[ citation needed ]

Arturo Beltran Leyva

Marcos Arturo Beltrán Leyva (September 27, 1961 – December 16, 2009) was the leader of the Mexican drug-trafficking organization known as the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, which is headed by the Beltrán Leyva brothers: Marcos Arturo, Carlos, Alfredo and Héctor. [28] [29] The cartel was engaged in cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine production, transportation, and wholesaling. It controlled numerous drug-trafficking corridors into the United States. and was also responsible for human smuggling, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, murder, contract killing, torture, gun-running, and other acts of violence in Mexico. [30] The organization was connected with the assassinations of numerous Mexican law-enforcement officials. [30]

Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas FrankLucas.jpg
Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas is a former heroin dealer and organized crime boss who operated in Harlem, New York during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was known for cutting out middlemen in the drug trade and buying heroin directly from his source in the Golden Triangle. Lucas boasted that he smuggled heroin using the coffins of dead American servicemen, [31] [32] but this claim is denied by his South Asian associate, Leslie "Ike" Atkinson. [33] His career was dramatized in the 2007 feature film American Gangster starring Denzel Washington.

Leroy Barnes

Leroy Antonio "Nicky" Barnes (born October 15, 1933) is a former drug lord and crime boss of the notorious African-American crime organization known as The Council, which controlled the heroin trade in Harlem, New York during the 1970s. [34] In 2007 he released a book, Mr Untouchable, written with Tom Folsom, and a documentary DVD of the same name, about his life. [35] [36] In the 2007 film American Gangster , Barnes is portrayed by Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Zhenli Ye Gon

Part of the currency seized from Ye Gon's home YeGon millions.jpg
Part of the currency seized from Ye Gon 's home

Zhenli Ye Gon (traditional Chinese: 葉真理; [37] born January 31, 1963, Shanghai, People's Republic of China) is a Mexican businessman of Chinese origin accused of trafficking pseudoephedrine into Mexico from Asia. At the time of his arrest, he had $207 million cash and 18 million Mexican pesos in his house. He claimed that he was forced by Javier Lozano Alarcón, putatively identified as the Secretary of Labor, to keep it at his home and that this money would be used during Felipe Calderón's presidential campaign in 2006. He is the legal representative of Unimed Pharm Chem México. The charges against him were dismissed with prejudice in August 2009 [38] as a result of the efforts of his attorneys, Manuel J. Retureta [39] and A. Eduardo Balarezo. [40]

Christopher Coke

Christopher Coke Christopher Coke.jpg
Christopher Coke

Michael Christopher Coke (born 13 March 1969), [41] a.k.a. Dudus, [42] is a Jamaican drug lord and the leader of the Shower Posse gang. He is the youngest son of drug lord Lester Lloyd Coke whose extradition had also, prior to his 1992 death in a Jamaican prison cell, been requested by the U.S. [42] Until the younger Coke's handover to U.S. forces on 24 June 2010,[ citation needed ] "Dudus" served as the de facto leader of Tivoli Gardens in the city of Kingston; [42] prior to his 2010 capture Jamaican police were unable to enter this neighborhood without community consent. [42]

The son of a prominent drug lord, Coke grew up wealthy, going to school with children of the country's political elite.[ citation needed ] Ruling the gang where his father left off, he became a leader in the community of Tivoli Gardens, distributing money to the area's poor, creating employment, and setting up community centers. [43]

In 2009, the U.S. began requesting his extradition, and in May 2010, a recalcitrant Government of Jamaica issued a warrant. [42] That same month the government took steps to capture Coke. In a run-up to Coke's arrest, more than 70 people–all but one of them civilians–died in a 24 May 2010 raid of Tivoli Gardens. [42] He was arrested at a Jamaican checkpoint on 22 June 2010. [42]

Demetrius Flenory

Demetrius Flenory Demetriusflenory.jpg
Demetrius Flenory

Demetrius Flenory is known as one of the co-founders of the Black Mafia Family, a Detroit-based drug-trafficking organization involving the large-scale distribution of cocaine throughout the U.S. from 1990 to 2005. [44] There are currently plans to produce a film based upon his career. [45] [46]

Following the death of Pablo Escobar in 1993, significant changes occurred in the structure or drug trade, departing from massive cartels such as Juan David Ochoa's Medellín cartel. Drug lords have begun breaking the large cartels into much smaller organizations. In so doing, they decreased the number of people involved and shrank their role as targets—most likely in an attempt to avoid the fate of their predecessors. With newer technology, drug lords are able to manage their operations more effectively from behind the scenes, keeping themselves out of the spotlight and off the FBI and DEA wanted lists. These smaller cartels are slowly proving to be safer and more profitable for those involved. [47]

Up until the demise of Pablo Escobar, in many instances, drug lords essentially ran the governments of the locations they controlled through bribery and assassination. However, this way of controlling their operations is becoming less prevalent. One of the most-notorious examples of the treatment given to drug lords is in the incarceration of Escobar. Although Escobar was, after turning himself in, jailed for his participation in drug trafficking in Colombia, the "jail" in which he was captive was a million-dollar palace built with his own funds. Another famous crime lord who enjoyed lightened jail life was Al Capone, who continued to run his business from his jail cell, which contained tables, chairs, a bed, flowers, and paintings. For drug lords of the past, jail often served as a way to avoid further persecution.

In recent times, drug lords seldom control local and regional governments, having less influence over their surroundings and their ability to continue to run their businesses from jail. [31] [48]

Another trend that has been emerging in the last decade is a willingness of local authorities to cooperate with foreign nations, most notably the U.S., in an effort to apprehend and incarcerate drug lords. Recently, especially in the last five years,[ when? ] countries have been more willing to extradite their drug lords to face charges in other countries, an act that not only benefits them directly but also gives them favor with foreign governments. Mexico extradited 63 drug dealers to the U.S. in 2006. However, extradition may be prohibited if the person faces the death penalty. [32] [32]

See also

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