Cocaine Country

ALESSANDRO SCOTTI

At Police Headquarters, packets of seized drugs, ready for inspection by Interpol

The four men park their sport-utility vehicle in the back lot of a five-star hotel, size me up carefully and make their offer: I can sample some high-grade cocaine, and then buy 7 kg for about $78,000 — roughly one-quarter of what I can sell it for on the streets of London, Amsterdam or elsewhere in Europe. It has taken me — a stranger in town — just one afternoon to locate a sizable drug deal.

If Guinea-Bissau had the money to paint a sign for arriving visitors, it might read: welcome to the world's newest narco state....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!