Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug Cartel

A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and contributor to Fast Company, Dan Slater takes a big leap in subject from his first book, Love in the Time of Algorithms, about Internet dating, to this study of young Texas Latinos caught in the drug wars. Kids in Laredo's Martin High joined one of two groups: "those who would go into the drug business, and those who would chase them." Wolf Boys focuses on Robert Garcia, a local cop and former DEA adjunct, and teenager Gabriel Cardona, a hit man for the notorious Zeta cartel. Slater traces their paths through the streets of an economy built on smuggling's vast wealth--from the Mexican cartels and from Washington's waterfall of resources for drug interdiction and border security. A poor city filled with legal and illegal immigrants, Laredo was awash with money when the "war on drugs" heated up and post-9/11 border hysteria swelled.

A tenacious bilingual journalist, Slater took numerous trips to Laredo, dug through news stories from both sides of the border, read a range of background history and commentary, and conducted hundreds of interviews with Cardona and Garcia. Wolf Boys includes enough history to keep the Mexican drug trade in perspective, but it is Slater's storytelling that carries the day. Not a pretty story perhaps, yet it is an engrossing one. It raises more questions about the effects the "war on drugs" has on the United States' youth than on the Mexican cartels it is meant to combat. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

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