Two experts on drug trafficking tell Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the difficulties of curtailing the production and sale of illicit drugs that originate outside the U.S. They debate whether or not American support of Burma's ethnic minorities could help reduce opium production.
Billy Hayes' years spent in a Turkish prison for smuggling hashish have been well documented in his book Midnight Express, which was later adapted into a book. He now pursues an acting career in California.
CBS News Producer Leslie Cockburn. Since 1984, she has covered the United States' involvement with the Nicaraguan Contras. Her reports have aired on "60 Minutes" and "West 57th Street." Her new book is titled Out of Control: The story of the Reagan Administration's secret war in Nicaragua, the illegal arms pipeline, and the Contra drug connection.
Mike McAlary, a reporter for the New York paper Newsday. His book Buddy Boys reveals the drama behind one of the biggest New York City police corruption scandals since Serpico. Buddy Boys is the story of how two corrupt cops, Harry Winter and Tony Magno, consented to inform on fellow officers who were routinely robbing drug dealers and then selling the drugs.
Investigative journalist Paul Eddy, co-author of The Cocaine Wars, which traces the course of cocaine from the hills of Bolivia to American street corners, and the domination of the market by a group of drug barons based in the resort town of Medellin, Colombia. The book also details the extent of cocaine corruption in both Dade County, Florida (Miami) and the Bahamas. Eddy writes for the Insight Team, the investigative arm of the Sunday Times of London.
Investigative reporter Ralph Blumenthal's new book takes a look at what the FBI called "the pizza connection": a heroin smuggling operation spearheaded by the Italian mafia in the United States. Pizza restaurants were used as drug fronts.
Hesseman played disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever in WKRP in Cincinnati, and now stars as a high school teacher in the comedy Head of the Class. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about how his performances and personal experiences inform each other. Early in his career, Hesseman sold two ounces of marijuana to an undercover police officer; he later had his record expunged.
Journalist Elaine Shannon's new book, Desperados, looks at the international impact of the illegal drug trade. She says that major banks and state governments have been complicit in drug trafficking by accepting bribes and laundering money. The U.S. government has faced difficulty curtailing these crimes, in part because of its desire to maintain diplomatic relations with the countries involved.
The new film, a thriller about drug smuggling, was written by Robert Towne, who is considered by many to be the best screenwriter in Hollywood. Film critic Stephen Schiff says the movie is a sensual feast.
Organized crime groups in China, called triads, have become some of the biggest forces in the international heroin trade. Writer Gerald Posner links their rise to the power vacuum left by the Sicilian mafia, as well as the policing policies of Chinatowns throughout the U.S. Posner's book about the subject is called Warlords of Crime.