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Summary

Tom Chandler arrived in Bogotá at the height of the cocaine boom. Pablo Escobar lay dead, the Cali Cartel had taken over much of the global supply and an avalanche of coke was poised to hit Europe. Now the British government wanted Chandler and his team to do the impossible: infiltrate the most powerful crime syndicates on earth and stop their drug shipments.

It was a perilous assignment. The cartel bosses operated like a lethal multinational, with armies of hit men and myriad spies in ports, airports, police stations and government offices. Their intelligence systems flushed out turncoats and traitors, and they ruthlessly exterminated their enemies. Yet Chandler, an HM Customs investigator fluent in Spanish, knew he could succeed only by recruiting local informants and went out into the field to find them. Within four years he had a network of 50 agents buried deep inside the trafficking organisations. The result was unprecedented. Their intel led to the arrest of hundreds of narcos and to the seizure of 300 tonnes of drugs, worth a staggering $3 billion. 

Chandler's web disrupted the Bogotá mafia, who controlled the main airport and boasted they could put anything on a plane, from drugs to bombs; penetrated the go-fast crews who raced coke-laden speedboats to the transit station of Jamaica; dismantled the 'rip-on' teams who smuggled through the coastal ports; and identified the so-called motherships, the largest method of bulk transit ever discovered.

He faced appalling risks. Treacherous stool pigeons worked for both sides, and some of his Colombian law-enforcement colleagues were abducted, tortured and killed. Chandler too faced a grave threat when the crime lords learned he was responsible for a string of interdictions. Yet he persisted, driven to continue with the greatest series of sustained seizures ever made, until he finally burned out and his tour of duty came to an end. Two of his best sources were subsequently murdered, and his bosses dropped the entire overseas informant programme, with dire consequences.

Narco Wars is an unflinching story of danger, fear and stress and of the tradecraft and unsung heroism of the agents and their handlers.

©2018 Tom Chandler (P)2019 W. F. Howes Ltd

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wow!

Really enjoyed the performance and narration, calm, considered and warm.

I've read dozens of books on the cartel violence, the undercover infiltration of either cartels or rhe law enforcement organisations, this stands aloft taking the detail of the logistic routes and role of confidential informants to all new levels.

The epilogue couldn't be more accurate, prohibition is the real problem. education decriminalisation, taxation and healthcare are the fixes.

The war on drugs is costly in so many ways... and it'll never win.

Also read "chasing the screams"... its linked and outstanding.

1 person found this helpful

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Never a dull moment

Well written and well narrated. The fact that it's non fiction make's it even better.
I could not agree more with his points made in his epilogue.
If this genre of writing interest's you then you'll not be disappointed.

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Cross between a wanabe 007 and SAS trooper.

Overall a fair listen/read but by god the author likes to big himself up just a wee bit.
Seems to go over a few points numerous times, yes we get it you were surveillance trained and your family lived abroad with you when you needed to be looked after so to speak. Telling us once is enough and no need to keep repeating it.

Some good stories within the book but seemed always to be building up to something really special and interesting and then dropped off at the end.

Worth a read if its on offer or at a discounted price, not worth paying full wack for.

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very interesting insight

a very interesting and revealing understanding of what it was like to work in HMRC battling drug smuggling and the sacrifices made. worth a read. I take my hat off to gentleman such as Tom for putting themselves out there in their professions for the greater good of society.

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Gripping and incredible granular detail A+++

I absolutely loved this book. Having watched the Netflix Narcos series this is incredibly more graphic and complex than the series, giving astounding detail from the horses mouth in terms of the cat and mouse battle to infiltrate and stop global drug trafficking, and all the associated collateral damage. Brilliant narration and really took me on his journey. loved it!

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Excellent read

great insight into what our drug enforcement teams working home and abroad had to endure throughout their daily lives.

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Great take on reality of the drug trade

Chose this for the real story after watching 'Sicario', to get a factual take on the drug trade, and Tom delivered. a shame the producer thought a (seemingly forced?) Northern accent was the right approach however. But if you want a realistic take from someone who's been closer than most, this is it.

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interesting view into the world of drugs

good book. nice detail as far as he could. gives a good view into a world we would normally not see

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  • Oscar Shinn
  • 06-12-21

really good

Tom, you have a guardian angel! What a job! I respect your bravery more that anything else. We need to sign you up for the SAS! I agree totally with your conclusion that cocaine should be legalized. Now? The laws make the criminals rich, but they don't stop the drug flow. I personally had a close friend die at 32 of a heart attack while snorting coke. Coke is SERIOUSLY dangerous, yet people still do it. The UK should legalize it, tax it, then publicize each and every heart attack that resulted from coke. Look up Len Bias the basketball player. He died snorting coke. Before the autopsy came out that he died of Coke, I told a group of doctors "mark my words, he died of coke". O knew because of my friend. Every doctor said I was crazy. A few days later the autopsy was made public. Yes indeed, Len died of coke. A perfect analogy is motorcycles. People die riding them, yet the UK doesn't ban them! You take a serious risk riding them, but the idea is to publicize the accidents. Excellent book Tom. Thanks