Columbian drug trafficker Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega is believed to have sent over 150 tons of cocaine to Mexico during the first decade of this century, aided by a network of American drug enforcement agents that helped him move the goods around the world and launder the money, some of it ending up at Bank of America.
The DEA claims its work helped Mexican authorities kill or capture lots of bad guys. But it can’t be calculated how many thousands of lives were harmed as a result of this operation, nor is there a metric to assess the salutary effect on global society of Poveda-Ortega’s capture and potential extradition to the US–especially if someone takes his place. As a dissembling former defense secretary might have said: it’s an unknown unknown. More than 12,000 people were killed in Mexico in 2011 as a result of the drug wars, with torture, beheadings and violence against women all ticking up. Murders were down substantially, however, in the blood-stained border city og Juarez, a decrease that still left it with five-and-a-half-times more corpses than in 2007.