Dope (2017) s01e03 Episode Script

Even if They Didn't Pay Me, I'd Still Do It

[explosion.]
[gunshots.]
He's a man known for no other life than a life of crime, violence, death, and destruction.
[cartel member.]
Son of your whore mother fucking traitor We're gonna get you wherever you go.
[Trump.]
We will build a great wall along the southern border.
[on radio.]
Go ahead, Charlie 1.
[Ezequiel.]
I wanna open this one and take a look.
The quality of the merchandise is judged firstly by the size of the buds, but also whether it has seeds.
If I crumble this bud here, you can see it's full of seeds.
That's no good because the buyers want it nice and green without the seeds.
This stuff here is really good.
I'll take this one, bro.
Everything you have like this.
[narrator.]
This weed farm is one of hundreds dotted throughout the Sierra Madre Mountains in Sinaloa province.
Part of an area known as The Golden Triangle.
Notorious for marijuana grows, meth labs, and heroin farms.
Control of this area has enabled the Sinaloa cartel to become the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world.
[Ezequeil.]
Okay, now we're good.
One, two, three.
Slowly, look after the merchandise.
[narrator.]
The workers use a vice to compress the weed into 30kg bales ready for smuggling.
It's the first step in a supply chain that stretches across Mexico to the United States, earning the cartel billions of dollars.
[Waldo.]
You there, boss? Yep, I'm headed for the beach now.
It might seem like the people around here are normal.
They seem like everyday citizens, but those seemingly normal people could be involved in crime [narrator.]
Captain Gonzalez and his battalion are on patrol patrol in the Sierra.
Their mission to locate and destroy cartel operations.
I'm certain at this very moment they know that we are crossing this avenue.
Organized crime place lookouts with radios in strategic places.
The lookouts feed this information to armed groups called Sicarios.
[driver.]
They wouldn't think twice about attacking us.
If they come face to face with the army and feel there's no other way, they will fight the army using high caliber weapons.
And you as a soldier have to respond with the same degree of force.
This has always been a problematic zone, but right now it's more intense because of the turf war within the cartel.
They're fighting over this area.
[narrator.]
Gonzalez has just received intel from a local informant.
about suspicious activity at a nearby farm.
[Gonzalez.]
Falcon, Falcon, Charlie 1 speaking.
[Falcon.]
Go ahead, Charlie 1.
[Gonzalez.]
Proceed with the recon and secure the area.
[Falcon.]
We'll provide cover as you move in.
[Gonzalez.]
Bravo 10, Bravo 10.
Do you copy? [Falcon.]
Affirmative, affirmative, got it.
[narrator.]
It's not a weed stash, but a meth lab of industrial proportions.
[Gonzalez.]
Look the aircon is still on, it's almost certain they were just here, and then fled as soon as they knew we were coming.
[narrator.]
The cartel's cooks have escaped.
Here you can see more containers filled with the different chemical s that they use in the drug manufacturing process.
[narrator.]
There's three tons of meth here.
[Gonzalez.]
The product you can see here is not yet finished, it's in the third stage of the process.
[narrator.]
Most of it is almost ready to ship to the US.
it's a disaster for the cartel.
One that puts even more pressure on the marijuana traffickers to get their payload into America.
Their first stop Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa.
[narrator.]
A city built on the cartel's drug money.
Here, among the graves of law-abiding citizens, dead narco bosses are laid to rest in tombs as big as houses.
At a shrine in the city center, locals pray to the patron saint of narco traffickers, Jesus Malverde.
The legendary Malverde was a Robin Hood outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
Cartel leaders portray themselves as modern day equivalents, stealing from rich gringos to provide for the poor of Sinaloa.
[narrator.]
Meanwhile the narcos' children race million dollar sports cars and post pictures of gold-plated Uzis and trophy wives.
[narrator.]
On the outskirts of Culiacan, the beach resort of Altata provides the next link in the marijuana supply chain.
[El Pescador.]
I'm down at the jetty.
I'm on my way, see you soon.
[El Pescador.]
During the day I fish, during the night I traffic marijuana.
The Sinaloa cartel own the goods and if I lost them or something they would kill me.
[El Pescador.]
All my friends, all my neighbors, almost all are involved in trafficking.
I mostly do trips with two tons of marijuana.
In the US, two tons is worth $2.
5 million.
[narrator.]
Shot by the fishermen themselves, this is the first time this trafficking route has ever been filmed.
Throughout the journey, the crew use cocaine to stay alert.
[El Pescador.]
The Navy almost caught me once I didn't stop, I just put my foot down, and they fired at me.
I was on the brink of being caught and very nearly killed.
[narrator.]
Traveling by boat is slow, but avoids military checkpoints, and lowers the risk of being ambushed by rival factions within the cartel.
The war within the Sinaloa Cartel is very dangerous for me, my family and everyone.
They all want to be number one.
I work exclusively for my boss and that can create problems because of envy, there's envy within the cartel.
[narrator.]
Taking a winding route along the coast, the fishermen head north.
It will take them four days and nights to reach their destination: Penasco.
[El Pescador.]
When we get to shore, large articulated lorries are waiting.
We get down, unload the goods and place them onto the trucks.
The lorries can then head to Nogales.
[narrator.]
But first they have to get through here.
The Caro-Bobby military checkpoint in northern Mexico.
Equipped with the latest tech, and manned by highly trained military police.
[monitor.]
Guard, please send that trailer to access gate number one.
[narrator.]
A truck has just failed initial inspection.
An X-ray scan has revealed several suspicious packages.
The movement of drugs here is on a large scale.
We inspect 1500 vehicles with trailers every day.
[Lt.
Col Salazar.]
On average we catch 10 to 12 loads a month.
The largest bust we've had was three tons of marijuana.
[analyst.]
See, this over here? [narrator.]
An analyst flags the vehicle for a detailed search.
Right now we're in the area where the vehicles are inspected.
[dog growling.]
[narrator.]
The driver of the truck looks on nervously.
If there are drugs here, the dog will find them.
[narrator.]
But not today.
It's candy.
[narrator.]
This truck is clean.
But with hundreds of big rigs arriving at the checkpoint every hour, drugs inevitably slip through.
[narrator.]
Once the marijuana shipment is safely past Caro-Bobby, Æ' it's a two hour drive to the next, major link in the supply chain: Nogales.
Nogales is located right on the border, just south of two major US distribution hubs: Tucson, and Phoenix.
Making it a key gateway for sending drugs to the US.
[narrator.]
The Sinaloa cartel stranglehold on the US drug market depends on controlling this town.
[Ludo.]
Six zero three.
Okay, we're ready and waiting.
[Ludo.]
They're uncovering the bunker where we hide the merchandise [voices on radio.]
[El Comandante.]
The shipment's about to arrive at the safehouse.
When they deliver marijuana or let's say coke, heroin or meth, we've got to make sure no one steals it.
The whole area has got to be secured.
[narrator.]
El Comandante and his team are trained killers.
I've been doing this since I was 14, to be honest, because I really like it.
[narrator.]
It's their job to protect the marijuana shipment.
[El Comandante.]
We've got lookouts all around and they tell us over the radio if the government is coming or a suspicious car is entering our area.
The greatest threats come from other people from the same organization, the Sinaloa cartel.
This other faction is trying to get in, they want to take our turf.
[narrator.]
In recent weeks the risk of a hijack has increased.
[El Comandante.]
We could come up against a car full of armed men and who knows what might happen.
Someone could get shot.
They die, we die.
It's a big deal, every day.
Still we've got to get them out, with bullets or blows, whatever it takes because this territory is ours.
[gunshots.]
[man.]
That's all, bitches! [narrator.]
Sensing weakness, rival cartels are moving in on Sinaloa's operations.
[repetitive gunshots.]
[narrator.]
The war within the cartel is hotting up.
And that is keeping the sicarios busy.
[narrator.]
The marijuana shipment has been delivered.
I'm in charge of the bunker, receiving the product.
I note down in my book what comes in and what goes out.
[narrator.]
It's up to Ludo, the plaza boss, to check the quality.
[Bozo.]
This one weighs 10 kilos so it costs $100 here, and in the US it's worth about $11,000.
[Bozo.]
Right now there are millions of dollars worth here.
[narrator.]
The shipment will be warehoused here with another five tons of weed.
All waiting to be smuggled across the border, so Ludo's bosses can get paid.
[Ludo.]
If you're not making money, you get eaten alive.
So, you have to find a way to keep working.
[Ludo.]
You have to impose respect, to be hard.
In my case, I'm always on the defensive.
Treat me well, I treat you well, treat me badly, you get what you deserve.
[Ludo.]
The money gives us a good life a good life for our children.
We try to give them the best.
We send them to the best schools, so that they do well, so they don't end up doing what we do.
[Ludo.]
For the future, it's about trying to make a buck, so we're able to do something else.
Whether that's buying livestock or an arable farm, or setting up a business that will make money, not as much as drug trafficking, but something similar.
When that day comes, we'll retire.
We've been friends since we were thirteen.
We were at school together.
We were friends and classmates.
We left school in search of a living, some way to make money.
First we planted it together and now we export it together.
[Ludo.]
You put it in a sack like this to make a package and tie it up.
You put another one in the sack, twist and tie it up.
Then attach shoulder straps.
Anything you're bringing back from Mexico today? No drugs? No weapons? [narrator.]
Unlike meth and heroin, marijuana is too bulky to traffic across the border by vehicle.
Instead Ludo sends small groups of drug mules, carrying bales of marijuana.
Via a secret backcountry route.
[Ludo.]
This is a can of black spray paint.
We use it to paint the water containers because they are clear and reflective in sunlight and Border Patrol look out for these reflections.
[narrator.]
Ludo's drug mules are professionals.
[drug mule.]
These are carpet shoes.
They are also camouflaged.
We put our trainers on first and then these over the trainers.
The bottom is lined with carpet, so that we don't leave any tracks.
[narrator.]
Ahead of them, lies a five day journey through some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet.
[narrator.]
First they're driven west to a deserted part of the border where they can cross undetected.
Then they must pass through the mountains and finally, there's a 150 mile trek through the desert to reach the i8 and a cartel taxi that will take them to a safe house in Phoenix.
[drug mule.]
It's called cat and mouse, that's the name of the game.
It's a big risk.
On this side of the border we're wanted by the Mexican army and on the other side, we're hunted by the US Border Patrol.
But law enforcement is only one of the dangers of the journey.
Sometimes stick-up crews appear and shoot at us because they want the cargo.
The cartel owns the cargo we carry.
If we don't get to the destination with our cargo, Sicarios could kill us.
You can earn the equivalent of three months wages in five days.
Mules earn $1,500 per trip.
[narrator.]
But they don't get paid until the weed is safely delivered in the US.
[drug mule.]
We can only afford to have one meal a day, which we eat while walking, so we only take light stuff.
[drug mule.]
We take toast, tuna, biscuits, beans.
We also take lemons to make syrup.
We add salt and sugar and drink it.
We carry the food in this backpack.
We use camouflage because it's better if we're sitting amongst the branches.
We leave the backpacks against a tree so they can't be spotted so easily.
Weed helps us relax, helps your legs rest, it helps you rest the shoulder here because with the backpack and weed packets you get really tired.
Your muscles swell.
And that's why I smoke weed.
[narrator.]
The mules' first obstacle is the border wall.
Over half a million people attempt to cross illegally each year.
Around 200,000 of them succeed.
I saw two bodies came over.
One is TBSd, the other one's in the bushes.
And one went back to Mexico.
Okay, there's the So, it's going to be up here.
Get off there.
We'll just get Just go up there.
Go up there.
[narrator.]
US border patrol agents Stukenberg and Hernandez are responding to a call.
Three people have been spotted jumping the wall.
[on radio.]
Units are reinforcing.
You're clear.
[Stukenberg.]
Is this body still north of the road? In here somewhere? In here somewhere? Alright.
Right here, right here, right here! Hands in the Show me your hands! [voice on radio.]
[Stukenburg.]
Let's move.
Any weapons? You have anything on you? Where are you from? [immigrant.]
From Mexico.
From Mexico? Immigration documents? Do you have a passport and visa with you? - No.
- No? Only ID? [narrator.]
She could be an illegal immigrant.
The human traffickers who got her across, have already jumped back over the fence.
[Stukenburg.]
Over there.
[Stukenburg.]
Once they touch that fence on the south side they're already on United States property.
They're on federal property.
Once they come over that fence that's when we come in that's when we go to work.
Honestly, I love it when I catch narcotics.
Knowing that's a load of drugs that won't be going to some school, hopefully won't be going to some kid.
I like to think if I can keep one kid from not taking that first trying marijuana, something like that.
I've done my job.
[narrator.]
The mules have made it over the wall, but they still have to trek over 150 miles to the pre-arranged meeting point, near the i8.
[drug mule.]
Next we have to cross the mountains, which are very high, and there are cameras and sensors everywhere.
We have a group that was spotted down close to the border that are actually carrying dope.
They had them headed east.
[narrator.]
Border Patrol agents Corbett, Lake and Hernandez are tracking a group of mules who have tripped the motion sensor.
[Lake.]
Right now we're trying to figure out which canyon they're in.
They could be in this one or one to the east, so we're trying to figure out which one they're going to.
[Corbett.]
It's always a competition between us and, you know, the narcotics smugglers.
Are we two steps ahead or are they two steps ahead of us? [Corbett.]
You do have more of a drive to catch those narcotics because, you know, for the most part, aliens, you're talking about people that are coming here to find work and things like that.
Narcotics, you know, when you have kids and things, I think your motivation is a little bit different.
[Corbett.]
This right here, right? [Lake.]
It looks just like a regular shoe print without the groove.
The sign here It could be two days, it could be like a week.
[Corbett.]
We'll have to find something that's a little more conclusive.
Alright.
So this is what they're trying to use to conceal their actual footprint in the terrain.
[narrator.]
There are further signs of the mules and they look fresh.
[Corbett.]
In my mind, as an agent, there's nothing more rewarding than what we call, "cutting a group," which is finding some type of sign on your own, tracking that group all the way out and catching that group.
They're guiding off of that huge peak over to the north of us.
You can see it.
Vergeda peak.
And they're pretty much guiding off of that.
That's one of the areas where the scouts will set up with radios and binos and look out for us.
Watch out, pigs on the 300, watch out.
I'll copy you, so you can go ahead.
Stay there, wait there, I'll tell you when.
From here, I can get a good view of their way in and watch their backs.
We lookouts have to guide the people who are walking, while also protecting ourselves, but we always keep one step ahead.
[narrator.]
Lookouts spend up to two weeks at a time hiding in the mountains.
Cartel runners bring them food and water.
In a fortnight, I can earn $10,000, or I might not earn a peso.
I like the adrenaline, I like it a lot.
And if they didn't pay, I'd still do it.
[narrator.]
Agent Lake sees movement on the horizon.
It could be smugglers.
[Lake.]
Which route, which route? [Corbett.]
They went towards the gate, man.
[narrator.]
Agent Corbett tries to intercept them.
[Lake.]
Be careful at the gate, use your weapon.
[Esteban.]
The pigs are moving, the pigs are moving.
Go single file, I'll let you know when to go.
[Corbett.]
Just a little bit east of it, they just dropped out of sight.
Alright, now they're hanging a little more to the west.
Tell me, was it just the one? [Lake.]
Yeah, all I saw was the one.
[Corbett.]
I lost them.
[mule.]
We know straight away when the Border Patrol are walking nearby.
We simply listen and go.
We hide everything away, protected by branches, and we get away.
We then wait until they've gone to return to that spot.
[Corbett.]
They just That group we believe that they ended up going back south.
We looked everywhere north.
We cut a lot of these trails and I think we eliminated a lot of it, so they're going to be back south.
FYI, I'm sure they're going to try another push here before too long.
Just keep an eye out.
[narrator.]
The mules have retreated to wait.
[Corbett.]
This is Corbett and Lake, signing out for the day.
Happy hunting.
[narrator.]
until the border patrol agents go off shift.
[Esteban.]
It's all clear, go ahead, let's go, move it! It's all clear, okay.
Let's go.
[narrator.]
After the mountains comes the desert.
The Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation.
Over 4000 square miles of scorched earth.
With temperatures reaching 50 degrees.
The mules' biggest fear now, is death by dehydration.
They have enough water for five days, but they wouldn't be the first to run out.
[narrator.]
With miles of open desert to cross, the mules are seriously exposed, especially from the air.
[narrator.]
Air operations director Mitchell Pribble is on a reconnaissance mission.
[Pribble.]
We had a group of suspected marijuana smugglers on camera.
The first detection was about an hour and a half ago and the most recent one was about 15 minutes ago, on camera.
[Pribble.]
We have three ground units on ATVs responding.
[narrator.]
Meanwhile Ludo's mules know that eyes will be searching for them.
[mule.]
The helicopter is the most difficult to get past.
It can locate you easily as you're more clearly visible from above.
We have to hug the tree trunks, without moving or looking up.
[Pribble.]
So, basically we're trying to cut out in front of the agents unless they get in here and cut sign.
So, we can determine a direction to travel from the last known point.
The last coordinates had In our area of operation, it's primarily the Sinaloa cartel.
Within that cartel there are several, you know, drug trafficking organizations, DTOs.
They'll guide the groups and tell them when to lay up as agents approach.
So, that's what a lay up looks like.
You can see all the trash and all the water bottles.
[narrator.]
There's evidence that mules have recently come this way.
[Pribble.]
They'll come and get underneath the trees and lay in here rest, usually eat, and then they'll start back on their smuggling attempt.
I've got a backpack down here that looks fairly new Doesn't have any bodies with it, though, just the backpack.
Some water bottles.
There's batteries here in the bottom of this wash.
The batteries are to run the radios that they'll use, and cell phone chargers.
[ATV operator.]
I got at least one small bundle.
[Pribble.]
Nice.
I knew they were down there.
I'm going to start working away from you, see if we can locate the rest of this.
Alright.
10-4.
[AVT operator.]
There is some water in there that I just splashed as well.
When we f ind water bottles that still have water in them that tells us we're close to the group because they rarely drop their water.
[Pribble.]
So, we know the bodies are here.
They've gotta be right here in this area.
We almost got a bundle out the right side of the aircraft underneath this palo verde.
[AVT operator.]
It's a food bundle.
[narrator.]
Finally, one of the officers on the ground gets a break.
[Pribble.]
Okay, I've got you.
I've got you.
He's got a body.
Well, if there's one body here there's others.
And 347's got bodies up here.
They just gave up.
That was just a give up.
Okay, we're up to a total of three.
Soft count of three.
[narrator.]
But these aren't mules.
[Pribble.]
As it turns out, it looks like what we interdicted was a scout resupply.
[narrator.]
They're cartel runners.
They were carrying batteries to run their radios and phones.
[narrator.]
They were carrying food for the scouts and they were carrying water for the scouts.
[narrator.]
They'll be taken back to the CBP base, questioned, and then sent to a deportation camp.
[Carlos.]
The cartel members on the other side.
We call them on a phone number, say we'll be in such place at such time, and they come get us.
[narrator.]
The mules have finally made it to the i8, and met the cartel taxi.
[Esteban.]
Go ahead, go ahead.
[mule.]
We're arriving at our destination with the cargo.
Great! Great! You arrived safe? [mule.]
Yes.
Over and out, 10-4.
[narrator.]
They're on their way to a safe house in Phoenix, along with the marijuana shipment.
[narrator.]
The weed will now be distributed to the cartel's dealers, in cities across the US.
[mule.]
All year round, all year round, they send drugs into the United States.
The one who walks it, the one who delivers it, the one who receives it.
It's a chain and we're all on the same side.