I Am the Market
How to Smuggle Cocaine by the Ton, in Five Easy Lessons
Author: Luca Rastello; Translated from the Italian by Jonathan Hunt
A page-turning account of the international cocaine trade, presented as five lessons in how to move tons of the drug across borders
Forget about cocaine concealed in false-bottomed suitcases or swallowed in ovules resistant to gastric juices. When entire national economies are kept afloat by the money from cocaine smuggling, the quantities these tactics represent are meaningless. When a commodity like cocaine becomes a mainstay of the international economy, grams and kilos are irrelevant. Because what is needed to sustain the market is cocaine by the ton.
Tons of cocaine means ships, cargo planes, and containers: large, cumbersome, extremely tangible, and visible amounts of white powder. So how is all that merchandise moved through harbors and airports? How are customs offices deceived, fiscal checks eluded, police networks infiltrated, and documents prepared to disguise mountains of cocaine?
It's done with coca made into cubes, dissolved in liquid, hidden in marble blocks or inside electric cables. With friends in the right places. With cocaine smuggled in cranes. With sniffer dogs supplied to the police, free of charge. With money in cash, always. And yes, with willing mules swallowing drugs. But they will be arrested, and that's part of the plan.
Drawing from years of research and conversations with criminal sources and convicted drug smugglers, with new information on the techniques, methods, and strategies used, Luca Rastello brings us a devastating portrait of the international cocaine trade. Told from the perspective of the formidable entrepreneurs whose tactics evolve and adapt to keep pace with shifts in the global economy, I Am the Market is a masterful exposé of a world we thought we understood—until now.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux