Why you should care
Because the dirty deeds done by the best and worst lawbreakers remain a constant curiosity.
The prospect of easily acquired ill-gotten gains? Well, it has dimmed as the years have passed. Despite Hollywood’s insistence on its glamour, bank robbery as a profession has taken some serious shots in the modern age. How serious? According to The Billfold’s Willy Staley, today “only an idiot would rob a bank.” The reasons are several: better bank security, barriers at teller stations, exterior cameras, harsher criminal penalties. But the most galling of all for the erstwhile bank robber: The money’s just no longer there — at least not at the bank. Would-be thieves now have other more lucrative options. Read the story here.
An early member of the San Francisco Bay Area punk scene, his is a story with unexpected turns and twists before arriving at the present: helming a tattoo and piercing parlor, fatherhood and an impending marriage. Now 49, the lead singer of a newly reformed Fang has made stops along the way at contrition, and possibly gotten a glimpse at a hard-fought redemption. Sam McBride’s story started well before he took a life in August 1989, went on the run and was subsequently incarcerated for six years before his release in 1995. Read the story here.
El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel is the most powerful criminal organization in Latin America, but it operates in a changing underworld where the traditional drug cartel — a monolithic mafia controlled by a marauding tyrant — is extinct. The integrated and hierarchical organizations of old have been replaced by decentralized networks of specialized service providers, driven by market forces rather than a mafia bond. This is the future of the cocaine trade. And its evolution doesn’t fall so far from the way the rest of the business world is evolving, say experts. Read the story here.
In recent years, this part of the world has seen an astounding surge in the trafficking of narcotics. West Africa has long been an established trafficking hub, especially for cocaine crossing the Atlantic from South America. But now drugs are coming ashore in countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. Increased enforcement efforts account for some of the sharp rise in seizures, but by no means all of it. The biggest business is the deadliest: heroin. And drugs are also contributing to an increase in petty crime and corruption, further destabilizing the environment that attracted smugglers in the first place. East African countries have a ways to go before becoming failed “narco-states” like Guinea-Bissau, but without rapid action, that could be the sad future. Read the story here.