Going Undercover as a Mexican Drug Lord


[MUSIC PLAYING] CELERINO CASTILLO: My name
is Celerino Castillo III. I was born and raised
here in South Texas. I ended up in the law
enforcement field because my father used to be in
law enforcement. My sister, the same thing,
in law enforcement. And I decided to go to school,
get my degree, and become a law enforcement officer. It was in Vietnam that I
actually saw one of my friends died on an overdose of heroin. And right after a firefight,
we found him with a needle still stuck in his arm. And basically, what I did was I
picked up an AK-47 from the enemy and double tapped him on
the chest to show that he died in a blaze of glory, as
they say, instead of going home as a junkie. And I promised myself that if
I survived that war that I would become a federal
drug agent. I was accepted into
the DEA in 1979. Having a lot of knowledge of my
Vietnam experience, I was assigned to the jungles
of Peru. I ended up doing a lot of search
and destroy missions down there, working hand-in-hand
with the Colombians and the Peruvians. And we had what was called a big
major operation, Operation Condor, but there was a contract
put on my head, so I ended up having to leave. And instead of sending me back
to the States, they sent me to Salvador and Guatemala to train
the anti-narcoterrorist units, and do undercover work,
and run all different kinds of raids, and search-and-destroy
missions and so forth. Reagan, at one time, said that
we needed to stop communism in the backyard. RONALD REAGAN: In the Communist
world, we see failure because it does such
violence to the spirit. CELERINO CASTILLO: Of course,
that was not the fact because it was really not the Communists
we were fighting. We were just running covert
operations to help the CIA run their operations. And we ended up training– instead of drug interdiction
individuals, we were training the death squads, which went out
and slaughtered close to 250,000 people in
Latin America. I was a cop, a detective, and
a DEA agent, which took me into Mexico working drug cases
and smuggling cases from Mexico into the United States. And at that time period, we had
a task force that combined DEA, county, and the
police department. I used to do a lot of
undercover work. And basically, what
I was doing, I played different parts. I played being a Mexican, a drug
trafficker buying large quantities of cocaine. We were infiltrating
drug cartels. With informants, we were
introduced to different members of the cartels. And at that time period, you
actually knew who they were. There weren’t that
many of them. You got to remember one thing,
that in Mexico when you work with a federal official,
he actually has become your informant. And he gets paid with
federal funds. The majority of them
were corrupt. They pretty well ran
the whole thing. We were the law, as they say. Mexican authorities were known
to do the most outrageous thing you could think of. And basically what happened,
it was my first taste of torturing people. I remember when my senior agents
with the DEA would bust somebody down in Mexico, and
they would actually hang them upside down and use that
mineral water. And they shake it and
run it down his nose to clear his sinuses. And, of course, he had the same
effect of waterboarding. And they used a cattle
prod up here, too. You know, get you wet and use
the cattle prod on your private parts. It was just torture. I couldn’t understand. He said, well, no, this is
what we do in Mexico. And this is what we’ll
continue to do. He says, we’ve done
it for many years. And you guys aren’t going
to come in here and tell us not to do it. It’s the Rio Grande River. In the United States it’s
known as the Rio Grande. In Mexico it’s known as
the Rio Bravo River. It connects all the way
from El Paso down to Brownsville, Texas. It’s used for all kinds of
illegal activity coming across to the US. You could actually see the
contraband coming across. Hundreds and hundreds empty
gallon containers of water that are used as floaters to
bring the people across, and clothes that has been dropped
there that’s wet. And they change into clean
clothes, and they drop the old clothes there. And they continue on to the
shopping areas in Hidalgo and in McAllen, where the coyotes
will actually come and pick them up and take them
to safe houses. The safe house has also become
what as known as stash houses for the drug trade. And basically, they’re killing
two birds with one stone by having a safe house for the
illegal immigrants and looks like nobody– you know, people live there. I mean, you would think because
of the stuff that’s outside the house, but in
reality, they even have a little storage room, which is
probably for the drugs. Well, the coyotes are
individuals who actually do the smuggling. They’re experts at what they
do because they do tracking and so forth. And they do surveillance,
countersurveillance, on the border patrol to find out
when they’re in and when they’re out. If we were to stop drug
trafficking today, our banking systems would collapse. Just about on every corner
you’ll find a bank, brand-new banks that they’re
shooting up. And, of course, the economy is
supposed to be down, and yet, here are the banks. What the cartels are doing is
using a lot of emails to go open a bank account. And then every month
they deposit $9,000 into those banks. And then they ask those people
to go back into the ATMs and take money out. So basically, that’s how
they’re doing it. 75% of the drugs that come into
this country come through the point of entry, which
indicates that apparently somebody’s being paid off at
the bridge of allowing all these drugs to come in. Drug cartels control
both the Mexican border and the US border. To them, to America, they are
more addicted to drug money than they are to drugs. I don’t think that drug
trafficking will ever stop. It’s too big of a monster now. They created a beast, and it’s
going to be very difficult. It’s like they’ve never been
able to stop the illegal immigration. They’ll never stop
the drug war. The cartels have controlled this
side of the border and the US side, because they
have the money to do it. America is more addicted to drug
money than they are to drugs because of greed, money,
there is so much money. We have a generation of
individuals that are willing to take somebody’s life
for $50, $100.

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