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  • [music playing]

  • [speaking spanish]

  • I'm not going to lie, it's always a rush getting access

  • to these clandestine worlds.

  • The cocaine pit, the starting point

  • for such a storied black market trade ranks up there.

  • But as the reporter high wears off,

  • I realize that the whole process boils down to brute labor

  • and simple chemistry.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • So they've been doing this for three days,

  • and now this is the final step, which they mix it with salt.

  • It takes 400 kilos, almost 900 pounds, of coca

  • leaves to make one kilo of cocaine.

  • They're soaked in water, acid and bleach, which draws

  • the drugs out of the leaves.

  • And now it's ready to be moved on to smaller

  • containers to the lab.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • [music playing]

  • Here in this makeshift lab, they'll

  • start the purification process.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • Researchers discovered how to extract cocaine from coca

  • leaves over 150 years ago, and Americans got their first taste

  • of the drug in Coca-Cola back in the 19th

  • century before it was banned by the federal government in 1914.

  • It's a really, really intense smell.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • To purify cocaine in the middle of the Peruvian jungle,

  • they figured out how to extract the drug

  • using simple household chemicals and a whole lot of gasoline.

  • In this lab, each batch requires 70 gallons.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • Ammonia, bleach, cement, lime, gasoline.

  • With each toxic additive, the drug becomes

  • more and more concentrated.

  • So what they're doing is that they're removing the top of it,

  • which is the fuel, and the bottom,

  • there's a clear sort of liquid, and

  • that's where the drug remains.

  • Do you see it's pretty dark?

  • And that's all the gasoline, and the clear part now underneath.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • So yeah, that's the drugs right there.

  • So they call that clear liquid, they call it the soup.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • [laughter]

  • They asked me if I wanted to try it.

  • [laughter]

  • I said no.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • Oh, check this out.

  • This is amazing.

  • It's crazy to think that only weeks from now,

  • this jungle soup will disappear up some American's nostrils.

  • Now it's time for the final step, a splash of ammonia

  • to solidify the drugs.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • OK, they have to speed it, we have to speed it up, OK?

  • With so many livelihoods depending on this lab,

  • Civichia's friend is taking a massive risk giving

  • us a peek behind the curtain.

  • So when the chemist disappears for a moment, I begin to worry.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • OK, guys, we have to go right now.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • [tense music playing]

  • Let's go, let's go.

  • His crew was spotted by somebody up on the road.

  • They say that we have to get into the car get out of here.

  • OK.

  • We have to go fast.

  • No, no, no.

  • [speaking spanish]

  • Are they all inside?

  • [car engine]

  • [tense music playing]

  • Thankfully we escape without incident,

  • but the drugs long journey north is only just beginning.

[music playing]

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How Coca Leaves Become Cocaine | Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/16
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