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drug trafficking

The cross atop Mount Cristo Rey, which divides the slum of Anapra from the city of Juárez (Lindsey Freer).

Manny’s Story

Boss of the bosses. What a ridiculous thing to call him. What does that mean here? What does it get him? Nothing that lasts. Someday it will end. Someday his own people or someone else’s people will kill him. He knows this: unless something changes, he will die.

Every five days the staff of a makeshift asylum at the edge of Juárez wash the inmates’ bedding and spread it to dry on bushes. Many of the residents of “the crazy place” have been driven mad by drug use and the anguish of loved ones lost to the drug war (Julián Cardona).

The Crazy Place

In Juárez, people vanish. They leave a bar with the authorities and are never seen again. They leave their homes on an errand and never return. They go to a meeting and never come back. They are waiting at a bus stop and never arrive at their assumed destination. No one really knows how many people vanish. It is not safe to ask, and it is not wise to place a call to the authorities.

The Mule

The first run, from Tampa to McAllen to Greensboro, was a bit of a lark. Maria was living in Tampa, and she was bored. So when a friend, someone she knew to be a Mexican drug cartel–affiliated smuggler, appeared at her door with a business proposition, she leapt at the opportunity. He said to her and her friend, “You girls want to make about $5,000 for driving for us for a few hours?”