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Special Reports by FRONTLINE's reporting team for the Drug Wars series

Cocaine, Conspiracy Theories and the C.I.A in Central America

In 1996 an expose series in the San Jose Mercury News made world headlines. It charged that the CIA and its operatives used crack cocaine--sold via Los Angeles' African American community--to raise millions to support the CIA's clandestine operations in Central America during the 1980s. The agency's Inspector-General Frederick Hitz--an independent watchdog approved by Congress--was asked to make a thorough review of the allegations. His subsequent report was released in 1998. This article looks at the evidence, documents and findings of the Hitz report and draws on interviews with Hitz, Oliver North and others.
The Hank Family of Mexico

A summary of the controversy surrounding this billionaire family and a rare on-camera interview with Carlos Hank Rhon in which he addresses allegations that the family is linked to drug traffickers and money laundering.
Do the Math--Why the Illegal Drug Business is Thriving

Every dollar spent by North America's drug users goes to fuel a mammoth and destructive global business. This report offers a chart on drug users' expenditures (in billions of dollars per year) and tracks where that money goes.
U.S. Business and Money Laundering

As U.S. law enforcement sharpens its focus on the flow of billions of dollars in narcotics money into legitimate commerce and trade, corporate America is worried about becoming targets. This report looks at some investigations and outcomes to date.
The Black Peso Money Laundering Scheme

"The Black Market Peso Exchange is perhaps the largest, most insidious money laundering system in the Western Hemisphere," says Raymond Kelly, Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service. "It's the ultimate nexus between crime and commerce, using global trade to mask global money laundering." This is a primer on how and why this scheme has become so vital to drug traffickers and their need to launder their huge narco dollar profits.
The Bell Helicopter Case

This is the story of a $1.5 million Bell 407 helicopter and how it became the "defendant helicopter" in a Colombia-based U.S. Customs investigation In August 2000 it was finally seized by U.S. Customs because Customs said the entire helicopter was paid for by a Colombian multimillionair using drug-smuggling money he laundered through the black peso scheme.
Reining in Forfeiture:   Common Sense Reform in the War on Drugs

In 1999, almost $1 billion worth of cash, cars, boats, real estate, and other property was forfeited to the U.S. government--most of it labeled as drug-related. Whle much of this property was taken from bona fide criminals, critics of the nation's asset forfeiture laws say that many innocent people have been hurt.This report examines what's gone wrong and why a rollback in state forefeiture laws is underway in many parts of the country.
The Narco 'Juniors' of the Arellano-Felix Cartel

The Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) is North America's most violent drug trafficking cartel. Based out of Tijuana, Mexico, for over a decade they've shipped tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine into the U.S. AFO's innovative strategy is befriending and recruiting 'juniors'--young, educated men of middle-and upper-class families living on both sides of the San Diego-Tijuana border. AFO uses them as drug runners and hit men. 'Juniors' get involved with the cartel not necessarily to become wealthy but for "la fama"--the fame of the gangster life. This is the story of what happened to one of these young men, told by his family and a fellow 'junior.

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