A Letter From the Publisher: Feb. 25, 1985

This week's cover story, on the massive influx of South American drugs into the U.S., reports the ominous conclusion of a new Government study: the size of coca crops is increasing in countries that account for much of the illegal drug flow. TIME's own wide-ranging look at the insidious traffic began last October, when Los Angeles-based Correspondent Jonathan Beaty undertook to find out how the trade had changed in recent years. Beaty visited Central and South America, where he had, as he puts it, "whispered interviews with cocaine traffickers in Rio nightclubs, a clandestine meeting with one of Panama's most influential...

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