The last time Escobar had hastily fled one of his residences - la Catedral, the luxurious private prison he built for himself to avoid extradition to the United States - he had left behind bizarre, enchanting detritus, the raw stuff of what would become his own myth: the photos of himself dressed up as a Capone-era gangster with a Tommy gun, the odd collection of novels ranging from Graham Greene to the Austrian modernist Stefan Zweig. Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, arriving after the kingpin had fled, found neat shelves lined with loose-leaf binders, carefully organized by content. They were, says John Coleman, then the DEA's assistant administrator for operations, "filled with DEA reports" - internal documents that laid out, in extraordinary detail, the agency's repeated attempts to capture Escobar.
"He had shelves and shelves and shelves of these things," Coleman tells me. "It was stunning. A lot of the informants we had, he'd figured out who they were. All the agents we had chasing him - who we trusted in the Colombian police - it was right there. He knew so much more about what we were doing than we knew about what he was doing."
Coleman and other agents began to work deductively, backward. "We had always wondered why his guys, when we caught them, would always go to trial and risk lots of jail time, even when they would have saved themselves a lot of time if they'd just plead guilty," he says. "What we realized when we saw those binders was that they were doing a job. Their job was to stay on trial and have their lawyers use discovery to get all the information on DEA operations they could. Then they'd send copies back to Medellín, and Escobar would put it all together and figure out who we had tracking him."
03 janúar 2008
,,How America lost the war on drugs"
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