Cocaine Submarines Producer’s Diary Pt. 1

Inside Cocaine Submarines
Premieres Sunday January 10 10P et/pt

Producer’s Diary
Bogota. June 10, 2009.

By Steven Hoggard

Upon arrival in Bogota we’re confronted with the nuance and dangers of covering this story. It’s dark and 1am. We’ve just arrived into Bogota from Houston, Texas. It’s really not a long flight — just 5 hours or so… But a completely different world from the one we’ve just left. On the drive in from the airport the first thing our local guy tells us is that the drug kingpin who controls the area where most of the drug subs are operating / being built wants to arrange a clandestine interview with our crew.
There are all kinds of stipulations (no cell phones, no walkie talkies, light clothing — so they can check for wires, a safe house rendevous, make sure to lose any police tail, blah, blah, blah) and it might be too crazy to try (I asked our guy ‘so we violate one of these rules and they kills us right?’ – and with a smile he replied in his charming sing-song Spanglish, “well – some ding like that you can say, yeah…”)

The drug cartel guys want to talk with us (Nat’l Geographic) because they’re trying to get good terms to surrender to the gov’t authorities and the DEA — but so far the Federalos aren’t cutting them a deal. This interview, they think, would give them a way to get their message out. Trouble is: we can’t yet tell if this informant’s for real — or just sees $ signs when he hears, “American film crew”.

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