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The Pipeline
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How the Colombia cocaine cartels
made the California connection

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Stolen cars
Peruvian cocaine
New Cali cartel
Bahamas connection
Coffee, tea or coke?
Nicaragua to California

1990-'91: Nicaragua to Bay Area

Small Colombian planes flew to a remote airstrip in La Rosita, Nicaragua, and cocaine was unloaded into army transport trucks, which were driven to Managua. The cocaine was stored in a series of underground military bunkers built during the war. Mercedes-Benz autos were exported from Miami to the port of Rama, driven to Managua and cut apart so tubes filled with cocaine could be inserted. The cars were loaded onto a transporter and driven north to Los Angeles and San Diego. Rental cars then ferried the cocaine to the Bay Area and points north.

Map by Staff Artist Pai Wei

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