Full Frame: Drug Trafficking

Full Frame

A drug trafficker checks the purity of a batch before loading it onto a car headed over the Mexico-U.S. border.

Like other businesses, the illegal drug trade has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the impact on illegal drug supplies is not yet fully known, the supply chain is facing disruptions, leading to price hikes around the globe. To learn more about the trade, Full Frame host Mike Walter spoke with veteran journalist Toby Muse, whose most recent book tracked one kilo of cocaine from harvest to trafficking, in Colombia. Toby is a British-American writer, and documentary filmmaker. He has embedded with soldiers, rebels and drug cartels, producing reports from cocaine laboratories and guerrilla jungle camps. He lived in Bogota, Colombia for more than 15 years, reporting all across South America about its endless drug wars. He is the author of the book ‘Kilo, Inside the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels – from the Jungles to the Streets.’

While the pandemic has reduced the movement of certain drugs, demand for others is growing. While the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has snatched up significantly less cocaine, seizures of both heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, remain steady. This has created a spike in homicides in the northern cities of Mexico, where fighting among crime groups and cartels appears to have risen.

Full Frame host, Mike Walter also spoke with one of the foremost experts on organized crime in the Americas, Steven Dudley. He’s followed the drug trade in Central America for the last 20 years. Steven is the co-founder of InSight Crime, a think tank focused on organized crime in the Americas, and a senior fellow at American University. He is the author of ‘MS 13: The Making of America’s Most Notorious Gang.’