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DRUG LORD

The Life and Death of a Mexican Kingpin - A True Story

by Terrence Poppa
Please check back for a reprint.
$16.95


“This book could function as an owner’s manual for the Mexican drug cartels.”

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-933693-85-1
13-digit ISBN9781933693859
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
Page Count400
Product Dimensions5 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 1
Publication DateOctober 15, 2010
A new edition of a True Crime Classic with new preface and introduction. “The [drug smuggling] business goes on, the slaughtered dead pile up, the U.S. agencies continue to ratchet up their budgets, the prisons grow larger and all the real rules of the game are in this book, some kind of masterpiece.”—Charles Bowden from the Preface.

Twenty years after writing Drug Lord, Terrence Poppa decided the information in his book was more important than ever. In an important interview with the Texas Tribune, Poppa explains that “The Mexico that I wrote about in the book describes the old order of things: Mexico under the PRI. In that sense, the book was out of date, because how drug trafficking operated under the PRI is completely different than how it works today in a new Mexico, under the democratically transformed Mexico…There has been a decoupling of the highest levels of power from drug trafficking now. It’s important for people to understand that, so I had to bring the book up to date.” Read the full interview here.

“Pablo Acosta was a living legend in his Mexican border town of Ojinaga. He smuggled tremendous amounts of drugs into the United States; he survived numerous attempts on his power--and his life--by rivals; and he blessed the town with charity and civic improvements. He was finally slain in 1987, during a raid by Mexican officials with the cooperation of U.S. law enforcement. Poppa…has turned out a detailed and exciting book, covering in depth Acosta's life; the other drug factions that battled with him; the village of Ojinaga; and the logistics of the drug operation. The result is a nonfiction account with enough greed, treachery, shoot-outs, and government corruption to fascinate true crime and crime fiction readers alike. Highly recommended.—Library Journal

Terrence Poppa, an award-winning journalist, was a finalist for a 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his investigations into the connection between crime and government in Mexico. He was featured in Standoff in Mexico, a PBS production about fraudulent elections in Mexico. Due to his unique insights into the world of Mexican drug trafficking, Poppa has been widely interviewed on radio and television, including Larry King and the O’Reilly Factor.


"It’s an endless struggle, and as it continues, it’s going to erode Mexico’s culture; it’s going to erode the political conquest of the Mexican people. And it could end up in a very chaotic situation, much more than we see today."
Read more from the Texas Tribune interview with author Terrence Poppa here.

Library Journal
Poppa, a news reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work on this story, has turned out a detailed and exciting book, covering in depth Acosta's life; the other drug factions that battled with him; the village of Ojinaga; and the logistics of the drug operation. The result is a nonfiction account with enough greed, treachery, shoot-outs, and government corruption to fascinate true crime and crime fiction readers alike. Highly recommended.
Kirkus Reviews
[Drug Lord] is impressive for its thorough investigatory research…and for its lively style.
Penthouse
Drug Lord is one of the few stories about double-dealing, murder, and endemic Mexican government corruption ever told from inside a drug ring, and is a must for anyone who wants to understand how drug rings really operate.
Dallas Morning
[Poppa] describes, with uncomplicated ease, the franchise structure of the Acosta operation—involving a kind of interlocking, horizontal integration typical of organized crime. He points out that the core of that structure is control of the corruption, not necessarily control the smuggling, a notion sometimes lost on writers who fall in love with the romance of organized crime…Perhaps that is the compliment that should be paid Mr. Poppa. He has shocked us with the conventions of the drug smuggling industry. He has penetrated its secrets and shows it to be something more ordinary than mystical.
Albuquerque Journal
Poppa is a gifted storyteller who has a clear eye for detail.
Austin American-Statesman
At times reading more like a Wild West novel than a true-to-life piece of non-fiction, Drug Lord exposes revealing snapshots of the seamy world of a drug smuggler at work
Publishers Weekly
Pablo Acosta, born in abject poverty in Mexico, became drug czar of Ojinaga across the border from the Big Bend country of Texas. He launched his career by smuggling marijuana and heroin into the U.S., later adding cocaine, and forging an alliance with Colombian drug traders. At the peak, he may have controlled 60% of the coke trafficked into the U.S., according to Poppa. The author shows that Acosta consolidated his power by murdering rivals, corrupting local police and soldiers, distributing money to the poor and contributing generously to civic projects. Eventually, however, he became a coke addict; his iron entrepreneurial grip slipped; and he was tracked down and killed in 1987 by an international narcotic strike force. Poppa interviewed the drug lord in 1986 for the El Paso Herald-Post and bases this enlightening book in part on those talks.
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