April 11, 2014

A Drug Lord Cuts a Deal

Patrick Radden Keefe, New Yorker

The Associated Press

The notion of Zambada as a kind of Mexican Whitey Bulger, allowed to operate with impunity in exchange for passing along bits of information about his enemies, has a certain intuitive appeal—and no one could deny that the drug war entails plenty of devil’s bargains. But this particular conspiracy theory always struck me as too neat. For one thing, the D.E.A.’s use of informants in drug cartels is hardly a secret: for drug cops, snitches, along with wiretaps, are the primary tools to attack an organization, not signs of covert collusion. As an analysis of the Zambada case on the Web site InsightCrime puts it: “This is not some conspiracy to protect or favor certain groups—it is a tactic employed by the D.E.A. and other US agencies to allow them to focus...

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TAGGED: Mexico Drug Wars, Mexico, Vicente Zambada-Niebla