I got a beer and lit a cigarette. Then, I started gazing around my surroundings. There were hot beautiful young Latina women absolutely everywhere, and it was driving me out of my mind. One thing you need to know about me, I am consistent when it comes to my sexual tastes. Curvy, young, beautiful, hot little Latina women who smoke. That’s my thing. That’s what trips my trigger. And here, in this region of Columbia, the entire menu looked good. I walked slowly on Veracruz Avenue, smiling at the young women who were selling their bodies seeing if there was a connection or some hint of chemistry. I walked for about an hour. Nothing really seemed to excite me. And then I went into a bar called the Hilton grill. It was a middle-class strip club. And a young woman named Luisa walked up to me and introduced herself. We sat down and drink several rounds of beer and she mentioned that she didn’t drink so much. So I pulled the big fat joint out of my pocket and asked her if she smoked marijuana. She laughed, she smiled, and then she said oh definitely yes. We went outside on the street and smoked out. And then she asked me if I liked cocaine. I told her that I never tried it, and had no intention of trying it. She then took out a little packet with cocaine in it, but a small bump on the back of her wrist and snorted it with a smile. She then told me if I ever wanted to try it with her, she would teach me how and make sure that I got the best top-quality product in Columbia.
I asked her how much a simple gram of pure cocaine costs. She told me about one US dollar. The last I heard, cocaine was going for about $150 a gram in the United States. That’s 150 times your money off the original supply. I wondered who was making this money. I was wondering what was being purchased with this money. And then it occurred to me, organized crime had moved into the supply chain and was capturing ridiculous profits off the international sale, trade, and commerce surrounding the cocaine industry in Columbia. That’s also the case for Perú and probably Ecuador. A majority of the economic sector that deals in these illicit products literally has to go underground, whereby legitimate businesses that draw profits are supported and funded and financed by the black economy. Money simply goes around from station to station. And of course, this kind of profitability is heavily sought after in the black trade of intelligence because the money, the proceeds are untraceable cash dollars in a very large bulk supply. Even in a digital world, cash is king. And for the Colombians who see cocaine as a normal part of their day, and moreover a normal part of their existence, it simply does not carry the demonization that it does in the United States and Canada. To us, these are highly illicit substances that are to be controlled by law enforcement. To them, the abundant supply and normalized use make the drug ordinary. It’s just life. And coca is part of it. As normal as rice and gravy in Louisiana. And we in the USA? We are the targets of their international sales force.
Please remember that my dissertation was on the topic of narcoterrorism in Perú. I had fully and completely studied how the insurgency Shining Path was so effective in turning Peruvian cocaine sales into cash, and then into weapons to fuel their revolt. Obviously, the same kind of thing was going on in Columbia. However, this time, it was not a cartel that was in charge it was the actual government. According to the newspapers in Columbia, the government was considering legalizing cocaine completely and nationalizing the trade through proper government oversight and management. Since I had been in Columbia, I had witnessed several parties where cocaine was free-flowing and being openly consumed by all of the revelers. I had to know more. I had to see the operations. I had to move up the chain from the consumers to the suppliers, and Luisa kindly told me that she would introduce me to someone on New Year’s Eve. At 6 o’clock that evening, her taxi picked me up and we went into the mountainous regions of Columbia overlooking the valley. Our taxi was greeted at the end of the dark road by two gunmen wielding shotguns and flashlights. Luisa told them who she was and that she had an appointment with the Padre. They let us through the checkpoint, and we drove up to a simple ranch house. I was about to get the education of my life.
The Padre walked outside with his bodyguards. There are about 5 to 6 people in total, all of which were armed heavily. I got out of the taxi and walked alongside Luisa to the Padre and shook his hand. I spoke in my fifth grade Spanish, and let him know that it was a pleasure to meet him and that I had some buyers for his product. He asked me if I wanted to try some cocaine to know the purity, and I said no that I didn’t consume cocaine – just good Colombian marijuana. We walked inside the casita, and he poured me a coffee. He asked me if I had cash buyers with their own transportation. I told him yes. He asked me if I wanted to see the supply. We drank coffee, chatted, and then he invited me for a ride in the truck. We went down the dark road and pulled up to an apartment building. He told me that the apartment building was his warehouse. And then we went up to the second floor walked down the hall, and he unlocked the door to the very first apartment. When the door opened I saw stacks of cocaine white bricks throughout the entire apartment. They were stacked to the ceiling. I asked the Padre how much for a kilo of the purest product he had available, and he replied about $1000 US.