Inside a Mexican drug cartel

lat-drug-cartel-grab.jpgThe L.A. Times has posted tonight, for Sunday's paper, the first of a four-part series that reconstructs the inner workings of a busted Sinaloa drug cartel from court records and interviews. Part one begins with a 2003 Honda Accord filled with hidden cocaine being driven up to the Mexicali border crossing, while cartel operatives watch from various angles and report in to the boss — as the DEA listens to the cellphone traffic. Brief summaries of parts two through four are up along with a bunch of interesting graphics on how drug loads are moved up to the Los Angeles area for repackaging, then trucked or flown east. Cash makes the return trip, hidden in car voids and truck ceilings almost as carefully as the drugs. Writer Richard Marosi of the Times' San Diego bureau explains points from the series in a half-dozen videos up on, including this surprise: psychics are regularly consulted by cartel distributors who bring drugs north into Southern California.

Graphic: Cropped screen grab from

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