This book came about because of the kidnapping of an American newspaper photographer by a Juarez drug trafficker, a brutal and unprecedented event that caused an international scandal and brought about the downfall of one of the major drug traffickers of the time.
Until the kidnapping, I didn’t have much interest in the subject of drugs. Drug trafficking was part of the background noise of the El Paso-Juarez region where I worked as a reporter. It was low keyed even in its violence; it did not draw too much attention to itself. My journalistic work, which had begun for the El Paso Herald-Post in 1984, focused primarily on reporting on a political movement in northern Mexico that was challenging the entrenched one-party system that had ruled Mexico since 1929. Juarez, the largest city in the state of Chihuahua, was the scene of what today would be called a “color” revolution — a democratic movement that used tactics of non-violent resistance to achieve its goals. Such a revolution was unfolding only ten blocks south of the newspaper, just on the other side of the Rio Grande. Read more »