A Day with the Chess Player

In a nine-hour session at a secret location, the alleged patriarch of Colombia's Cali cartel talks for the first time about his battle with Washington and why he thinks drug lord Pablo Escobar wants h

The phone call came at 8 a.m. "Don't eat breakfast," advised Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela. "I'm planning a big lunch for you so we can get to know each other."

Thus began a nine-hour public relations blitz by the man who allegedly serves as a patriarch of the Cali cartel. Rodriguez consented to see reporter Tom Quinn and me -- "the first and only interview I've given in my 52 years" -- in order to clarify what he insists are lies about his involvement in cocaine trafficking. Along the way he tried to raise doubts about the motivations of two enemies --...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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!