An Interview With the Author of "Drug Lord"

"Tell Poppa they are going to kill him."

That was the message delivered to the editors of the El Paso Herald-Post in the late 1980s by a photographer who snapped pictures of a hotel in Ciudad Juárez that was being constructed by drug kingpin Gilberto “El Greñas” Ontiveros, a high-ranking member of the Juárez cartel. The pictures got the photographer beaten up and kidnapped, and he was later sent back to deliver the threat to reporter Terrence Poppa, who had written the story about the hotel.

The kidnapping eventually led to Drug Lord, Poppa’s 1990 book chronicling of the rise ...

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