A hard-boiled memoir from a former drug dealer who switched sides.
Caribe’s author biography credits him as “the most successful confidential informant in U.S. law enforcement history in terms of dollars of narcotics whose seizure he has helped facilitate,” and Cea is a former New York City detective who has written a memoir (No Lights, No Sirens: The Corruption and Redemption of an Inner City Cop, 2005, etc.) and worked as a producer on the Discovery Channel show Flipped. Consequently, this book combines the adrenaline-rush pacing of pulp fiction with a memoir’s grounding in truth. “The Beltrán brothers were a combo of Pablo Escobar, Pol Pot, and Attila the Hun all rolled into one,” write the authors, who go on to describe them as “two ruthless killers responsible for thousands of murders in Mexico and the United States.” Caribe worked for the “ruthless, hard-hitting Cuban thug” who represented the Mexican cartel in the U.S., a criminal every bit as much a bad guy as the Beltrán brothers. Helping push those drugs for a decade might have marked Caribe as a bad guy himself, but in this narrative, he is a loving husband and father who somehow happened to make a wrong career turn and decided to turn his life around, fortuitously, just before his arrest, which he calls “the best thing that could’ve happened to me.” The rest of the book shows the process by which he made his deal to “switch flags” and set up a couple of major drug busts worth many millions before settling into his identity as “C.S. 96” and ultimately finding redemption as an ordained minister. Caribe’s memory for paragraphs of quotes tests credulity as nonfiction, but the pacing and tone should satisfy readers hungry for the real nitty-gritty.
A suitably grim inside look at the front lines of the drug war.