Crazy Charlie, Carlo Lehder rose from a struggling, small time pot dealer to become a major godfather in the Medellin cartel, the crime syndicate largely responsible for initiating the cocaine epidemic plaguing American society since the late 1970s. Federal U.S. prosecutor Robert Merkle, who successfully prosecuted Lehder in 1988, said that the drug lord “was to cocaine transportation what Henry Ford was to automobiles” because he was the mastermind behind the transportation network that revolutionized the international drug trade. Lehder’s genius was to devise a sophisticated transportation system that allowed the Medellin cartel to transport huge quantities of cocaine from Colombia, the source country, to the U.S., the world’s major illegal drug market. By 1987, the DEA and the Colombian government had put Lehder’s net wealth at more than $3 billion. A great admirer of both Nazi icon Adolph Hitler and Marxist Che Guevara, Lehder hated the U.S. and viewed cocaine as a kind of atomic bomb that could destroy Uncle Sam from within. Lehder got the nickname, “Crazy Charlie,” because of his bizarre and often unpredictable behavior.
Ron Chepesiuk nails it with his fascinating biography of Carlos Lehder, one of the most infamous figures in the history of drug trafficking — and a man responsible for countless deaths and ruined lives. Telling an incredible story, Chepesiuk’s painstaking investigation reveals nugget after nugget about the enigmatic but charismatic drug lord, and this riveting book is a page-turning read. Highly recommended.
~Elliot Goldenberg, author of Spy of David
Ron Chepesiuk is an award-winning author of more than 33 books and 4,000 plus articled, is a Fulbright Scholar, documentary producer and director, screenwriter, the radio host of the Crime Beat radio show, a consultant to the History Channel’s Gangland TV series and a regular interviewee on U.S. cable TV crime shows. Three of his books have been optioned for movies and the Discovery Channel has licensed his documentary, the Frank Matthews Story.
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