The World: Portrait of a Narc: Death Is Never Far Away

THE 1,610 agents of the Justice Department's Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs are the advance scouts and front-rank skirmishers in the U.S.'s war on narcotics. The BNDD agent's business is basically intelligence; he deals with small-time pushers and "mules" (couriers), as well as international traffickers, in any number of situations and any number of languages. He must be, in short, the compleat narc.

Roughly 45% of the BNDD'S agents are stationed abroad, in as many as 57 countries. They sometimes operate out of a U.S. Embassy or consulate but they have a passion for anonymity and independence. If they work with...

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