Diamonds Are a Don's Best Friend

Colombian cocaine cartel leaders are apparently investing in precious gems. "Cash is a pain," says a DEA official. "It's bulky if you move it, traceable if you bank it, and it mildews if you bury it." Which may explain why Colombians have been reported buying up jewels -- principally diamonds -- in Antwerp, Amsterdam and Hong Kong. U.S. agents don't think these buyers are Christmas shopping. "You can transport millions of dollars' worth of diamonds in your back pocket," says an investigator. Furthermore, diamonds don't rot when stored in the underground caches favored by Colombian dons.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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