Southeast Asia: Battle of the Warlords

At stake: the Golden Triangle's $800 million opium trade

In Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle, January is harvest time. It is also a time when members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration check the skies for signs of bad weather, hoping that nature will spoil the lucrative crop of opium poppies that are the economic mainstay of the mountainous region where the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos converge. This year the climate has been kind to the poppy growers and bad for the DEA: a bumper crop of 700 tons is expected, 100...

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