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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

Late 1980s: Coffee, tea or coke?

Colombian cocaine was flown aboard private planes into small airfields in northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua. Super DC3s leaving from San José, Costa Rica, loaded with general merchandise would touch down briefly, take on a cocaine load and continue on to U.S. airports.

Map by Staff Artist Pai Wei

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