News

METH, MURDER, AND PIRATES: THE CODER WHO BECAME A CRIME BOSS

How a brilliant self-made software programmer from South Africa single-handedly built an online startup that became one of the largest individual contributors to America’s burgeoning painkiller epidemic. In his world, everything was for sale. Pure methamphetamine manufactured in North Korea. Yachts built to outrun coast guards. Police protection and judges’ favor. Crates of military-grade weapons. Private jets full of gold. Missile-guidance systems. Unbreakable encryption. African militias. Explosives. Kidnapping. Torture. Murder. It’s a world that lurks just outside of our everyday perception, in the dark corners of the internet we never visit, the quiet ports where ships slip in by night, the back room of the clinic down the street.

MONROVIA, LIBERIA. SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

On a gray afternoon, three men enter a drab hotel room for a business meeting, months in the making. Two are white: a portly South African and his muscled European deputy.

The other, with dark hair and a paunch of his own, is Latino—Colombian, or so he says.

The hotel is in the Liberian capital, abutting the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of West Africa, but it could be any number of places in the world. The men’s business is drugs and weapons, and drugs and weapons are everywhere. They shake hands, nod heads, and begin speaking in the elliptical but familiar way of people who share the vernacular of a trade. They are cautious, but not cautious enough. A video exists to prove it.

More

Advertisements

Categories: News

Tagged as: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s