Every year, Colombia exports nearly 400,000 tons of cocaine- street value $1.2 billion. Traffickers send drugs by cargo ship, private plane and even submarine but the most common method is human mules. Motivated by violent threats or the promise of fast money, thousands of drug couriers risk their lives and their freedom to bring these drugs to market. Their main goal are Colombia’s airports, but it’s there that DEA agents “Liam” and “Jack” and an elite group of Colombian National Police work day and night to capture these mules and curb the flow of narcotics.
Locked in a cat and mouse game with this security force, Colombia’s traffickers invent new methods to slip past check-points. Specialists hide the product in almost anything, each new tactic more ingenious than the last. But one mistake could land them in prison for decades, or even cost their life.
Drug cartels will not hesitate to eliminate anyone who stands in their way, be they trafficker or cop. “Liam” and “Jack” know this sad reality all too well, having lost one of their closest comrades, Giovanni, to a professional assassination.
This week, “Liam” and “Jack” set up a multi-airport surge across Colombia to surprise traffickers by flooding airports with teams of specialized police. They start at El Dorado airport in Bogotá where several busy shifts yield great success. They find drugs in almost anything, shoes, books, bottles and even soaked in the thread of clothing.
Continuing with the multi-airport surge, “Liam” and “Jack” travel to Medellín but this trip yields a deeper more tragic objective: the investigation into the murder of their comrade, Giovanni. Killed by motorcycle assassins, Giovanni died doing his job. His death has a strong impact on “Liam” and “Jack” who are committed to bringing his killers to justice. But Medellín, the epicenter of drug trafficking in Colombia, poses unique threats to DEA agents. There on high alert, “Liam” and “Jack” canvas the neighborhood at the murder site for information.
By the week’s end, “Liam” and “Jack” have dozens of arrests and innumerable kilos of illegal substance seized. It has been a major coup for the DEA and Colombian National Police. But for “Liam” and “Jack,” it’s a bittersweet success. Their investigation into Giovanni’s murder has only just begun.
Tune in to Inside Cocaine Wars: Drug Mules tonight at 9P.