The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel, by Robert Mazur

2009. Without cooperative bankers there is nowhere for the drug trade to wash its billions.

Robert Mazur, Italian American, joined the IRS out of college and became a special agent for their Intelligence Division. In Tampa he learned how to work an undercover identity. After a successful case under his belt, he was offered a job with U.S. Customs meaning a pay cut, a million miles less of red tape, and his dream job.

At his new job, Robert Mazur became Robert Musella, a cover identity close enough to his own New York background for him to easily play the part of a scion of a New York crime family with legit businesses laundering illicit cash flow. Through this cover Mazur/Musella and his colleagues at Customs infiltrated the global financial world of the Columbian drug trade.

From 1983 to 1988 Mazur/Musella little by little ingratiated himself with narco traffickers and narco financiers.  Remember BCCI? They were the dirtiest bank in the world at the time and thrilled to facilitate the flow of narco dollars for fees, all negotiable of course due to the great amounts involved.

These men and women of U.S. Customs put their lives on the line–one wrong step could mean getting whacked–to gather enough evidence to disrupt and seize narco assets, to arrest and prosecute the narco traders and their dirty bankers.

Despite Mazur’s success, at $400 to $500 billion in drug trade revenue per year, $10 trillion has circulated through the world financial system since the success of this case.

The writing reads like a trip report at times but that is part of its appeal. The narrative is straight from the guy who lived through it. Most amazingly, after the takedown and testifying in open court, Mazur survived a $500,000 price tag on his head and wrote this book.

Real story. Real people. Real guts. Real glory.

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About M L RUDOLPH

M L Rudolph has worked for CNN among other American and British television and film companies. He has written for general interest and trade magazines and published his first novel, Facing the Son, A novel of Africa, on Amazon in 2011. More are on the way. Rudolph is a dual US/UK national and lives in Pasadena, CA. View all posts by M L RUDOLPH

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