Invasion of Panama (08:04)
When the Cold War ended, President George H.W. Bush increased focus on the war on drugs. He declared war on Panama to topple leader Manuel Noriega; Noriega had previously helped the CIA fight Communism in Central America.
New Cocaine Traffickers (03:27)
The Cali Cartel surpassed the Medellin Cartel as the most powerful Colombian cocaine dealers. The Cali and a Mexican cartel changed market and distribution routes into the United States.
Crack Epidemic (07:57)
Violence relating to drug trafficking and crack skyrocketed in Los Angeles; the Bloods and the Crips dominated the crack market. The Los Angeles Police Department began to militarize their response, which led to the beating of Rodney King.
LA Riots (04:27)
Riots broke out after the police officers charged with beating King were found not guilty. The Bloods and Crips united to find an economic option outside of drugs. The head of the LAPD resigned, but the militarization of policing reminded.
Meth in Rural America (10:54)
Meth was introduced in the 1950s as energy pills. When the FDA cracked down, the underground market for meth developed. Meth became popular as a cheap drug in rural communities.
Changing War on Drugs (04:05)
Mexican cartels turned the domestically produced meth trade into a international drug trade. Civil asset forfeiture laws allowed law enforcement to seize property and money from suspected drug dealers.
Clinton and Drugs (05:22)
Violent crime rates peaked in 1993, just after Bill Clinton became president. Clinton signed a crime bill to increase law enforcement and opened trade with Mexico, which made drug smuggling easier.
Mexican Cartels at the Border (08:36)
The Juarez Cartel was headquartered across the border from El Paso, Texas. Violence increased between supplier cartels in Colombia, which led to Pablo Escobar's death. A new Clinton policy opened trade from Mexico.
Changing Views on Heroin (08:56)
In the 1990s, grunge rock and the fashion industry helped make heroin seem less taboo. In Afghanistan, Taliban leaders took advantage of the region's opium poppies; remnants of the American proxy war gave them the means to create a drug boom.
Tough on Crime Policies (04:47)
Clinton's crime bill helped reduce the number of murders in large cities, but more people were in prison on drug charges. The bill added mandatory minimums to many sentencing laws and the three strikes programs led to long prison sentences for non-violent drug convictions.
Mexican Mafia (05:46)
The Mexican-American street gang controlled the flow of drugs into California and established a strict code of street justice. The leaders were federal prisoners in California. As the prison population nearly doubled in the 1990s, membership and prison gang power grew.
Violence in Mexico (07:20)
Juarez was consumed with violence after the leader of the Juarez Cartel died. Other drug traffickers fought to gain control of the flow of drugs from Colombia. The ruling political party was voted out and the new party promised to fight the drug trade.
Opium and the Taliban (04:47)
In 1995, the Taliban told the international community they had band farmers from growing opium poppies. It was a ploy to take attention away from violence against American embassies in Africa. The United States gave Afghanistan millions in aid to support drug eradication.
Credits: Gangs, Prisons, & Meth Queens (00:56)
Credits: Gangs, Prisons, & Meth Queens
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