FRONTLINE presents filmmaker Adrian Cowell's 30-year chronicle of Burma's heroin trade and the rise and fall of the drug warlord Khun Sa


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The Opium Kings

In a journalistic odyssey of more than three decades, filmmaker Adrian Cowell ventures into a remote corner of Burma known as Shan State, where much of the world's heroin originates. FRONTLINE chronicles the rise and fall of Khun Sa, a Shan nationalist leader and warlord who has long been a chief target of U.S. drug enforcement. In interviews with drug-war figures ranging from opium farmers to U.S. officials, Cowell unravels the complex political, economic, and diplomatic web that surrounds the heroin business.

published may 1997

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