Op-ed: Tinker Tailor Soldier Kingpin

Newsweek Magazine, 1/30/12

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

There are usually just three ways for a trafficker to leave a Mexican drug cartel: go to prison, get killed, or become a government informant.

Two weeks ago, I had dinner at an expensive restaurant near the Mexican border with a man who got out by the third route. He was, until recently, an important figure in the Sinaloa cartel’s drug-running operations, working indirectly for the boss, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Casually dressed, he used a small fork to scrape the marrow from the shank bone on his platter of osso buco. He joked that he wished he had a soft tortilla on which to spread the marrow, the old Mexican way, the way his family did it with a butchered animal.

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