Cocaine Wars goes undercover with an elite team of drug officers trying to stop the smuggling of cocaine through airports into North America.

About half the world’s cocaine comes from Colombia and much of it passes through El Dorado International Airport in Bogota. Here, drug couriers, or “cocaine mules” risk their lives for a few thousand dollars to transport coke into the United States and Canada. The mules work for billion-dollar drug cartels that devise ever more ingenious methods to evade detection.

With unique access never granted before, the documentary follows a team of American DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agents as they prowl the terminals of the Bogota airport, tracking down drug couriers with hidden loads of coke. They also bust a smuggling ring of U.S. military servicemen carrying cocaine from Bogota to towns near their old military bases in Italy. And they team up with Colombian commandos to take down a major coke supplier by carrying out simultaneous raids of his bases in multiple cities.

“The object of any DEA investigation is to go as high up the food chain as you can, all the way to the guy who calls all the shots, who’s financing the organizations. The guy who’s living the fattest - that’s the guy you want to go after,” says special agent “Jack”, whose name has been changed for his own safety.

In the documentary, we see the agents use wiretap information, drug-sniffing dogs, X-rays and high-stakes stakeouts to uncover cocaine in unusual places. Often its swallowed in pellet form by mules, who can die from an overdose if the pellet breaks. In one case, a man tries to board a flight with 5 kilograms of liquid cocaine hidden inside a climbing rope.

The cameras roll as the mules, often poor Colombians, are detained and questioned. One man has even brought his 3-year-old daughter along for the flight. When drugs are found in his suitcase, he explains that he wanted the money to keep his family from being evicted from their apartment. “I fell into this trap as an easy way out,” he says. “I don’t want anything to happen to my daughter. Kids shouldn’t have to pay for their parents’ mistakes.”

Cocaine Wars is produced by Hoggard Films for National Geographic Channels.

Credits (Click to expand)

Series Producer/Writer

STEVEN HOGGARD

Editors

LYMAN SMITH

JON ROSS

Narrator

JAIME MELINE

Senior Producer

DAPHNA RUBIN

Field Producers

ALI SARGENT

STEVE SCHRENZEL

NATALIA BALDWIN-LEON

Directors of Photography

ROBERT HANNA

JUAN ANTONIO PUYOL

Camera Operators

JUAN CARLOS ENCISO

GABRIEL GOODENOUGH

CARLOS HERNANDEZ

MAURICIO VIDAL

Production Managers

DAPHNA RUBIN

PATTI BONNET

Associate Producers

STEVE SCHRENZEL

ERIC GEHRINGER

Sound Recordists

JOSE JAIRO FLOREZ

ISABEL TORRES

RAFAEL OSPINO

RICHARD CORDOBA

CAROLINA DEL MAR FERNANDEZ

MILLER CASTRO TIRADO

Colombian Fixer

MARITZA BLANCO

Production Coordinators

NICOLE LONERO

JENNA HOFFMAN

Production Interns

COLIN ANDERS

IAN GLASS

ANDREA GUENDELMAN

LAURA KIRBY

PHILIP THURNER

Production Assistants

SYDNEY MORAUER

MAURICIO OCAMPO

JORGE SANCHEZ CARO

MAURICIO VELEZ

Special Thanks

OPERADORA AEROPORTUARIA INTERNACIONAL (OPAIN)

CASA REAL 93

Stock Footage

AP ARCHIVE

COLOMBIAN POLICE

TUMACO POLICE

UNITED STATES COAST GUARD

ZIGZAG PRODUCTIONS

JOURNEYMAN PICTURES

FRANCE24

US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION

For National Geographic Channels

Production Manager

AMY CAMPBELL VEROCK

Unit Manager

HEATHER DANSKIN

Production Coordinator

STACEY BUNCH

Executive Producer

CHAR SERWA

Executive in Charge of Production

MICHAEL CASCIO

S&P/Research

MADELYN COPELAND

Produced by HOGGARD FILMS for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNELS

© 2012 NGC Network US, LLC and 2012 NGC Network International, LLC

All Rights Reserved.

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