El Sicario: Confessions of a Cartel Hitman

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Penguin Random House Australia, Jun 1, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 224 pages
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Now an Oscar-contender film featuring Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro. I'm going to tell you about 20 years of my life dedicated to serving the cartel. Serving them with these hands. Torturing people. And killing.

In this unprecedented and chilling monologue, a repentant Mexican hitman tells the unvarnished truth about the war on drugs on the Americans. El Sicario is the hidden face of America's war on drugs. He is a contract killer who functioned as a commandante in the Chihuahuan State police, who was trained in the US by the FBI, and who for twenty years kidnapped, tortured and murdered people for the drug industry at the behest of Mexican drug cartels. He is a hit man who came off the killing fields alive. He left the business and turned to Christ. And then he decided to tell the story of his life and work.

Charles Bowden first encountered El Sicario while reporting for the book "Murder City". As trust between the two men developed, Bowden bore witness to the Sicario's unfolding confession, and decided to tell his story. The well-spoken man that emerges from the pages of El Sicario is one who has been groomed by poverty and driven by a refusal to be one more statistic in the failure of Mexico. He is not boastful, he claims no major standing in organized crime. But he can explain in detail not only torture and murder, but how power is distributed and used in the arrangement between the public Mexican state and law enforcement on the ground - where terror and slaughter are simply tools in implementing policy for both the police and the cartels. And he is not an outlaw or a rebel. He is the state.

When he headed the state police anti-kidnapping squad in Juarez, he was also running a kidnapping ring in Juarez. When he was killing people for money in Juarez, he was sharpening his marksmanship at the Federal Police range. Now he lives in the United States as a fugitive. One cartel has a quarter million dollar contract on his head. Another cartel is trying to recruit him.

He speaks as a free man and of his own free will - there are no charges against him. He is a lonely voice - no one with his background has ever come forward and talked. He is the future - there are thousands of men like him in Mexico and there will be more in other places. He is the truth no one wants to hear.

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About the author (2011)

Charles Bowden (Author)
Award-winning journalist Charles Bowden is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books, including Down by the River, Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing and Murder City. He writes for Harper's, GQ, National Geographic and others. He lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Molly Molloy (Author)
Molly Molloy is a research librarian at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is an experienced translator and specialist in Latin American Studies and edits the FRONTERA-LIST, an online chronicle of the violence in Mexico and other border issues.

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