This World TV - Narco Wars: The Mob TV - Liverpool Narcos: Heroin TV -
In 2008 the focus shifted to another commodity: heroin produced in Mexico. This World: Secrets of Mexico's Drug War, BBC 2015
The Dominican Republic is a major transit point for heroin and cocaine. From here it is smuggled into the United States. Narco Wars: The Mob s2e1: The Heroin Don, National Geographic 2022
In 2016 almost a million Americans used heroin. Double the number of users in the 1970s. They’re supplying a mass market created in the 1950s by one of the most powerful crime syndicates in the world: the American Mafia. ibid.
Carmine Galante was far and away the biggest heroin kingpin in the world. He developed a whole system of smuggling tons of heroin into the country. ibid.
Carmine Galante is a trusted member of one of the most brutal Mafia families in New York: the Bonanno Family. ibid.
Galante is on the brink of transforming the North American heroin trade. But in 1962 his plans are thwarted. He’s sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for drug offences. ibid.
In 1974 there are 460,000 heroin addicts in the US. Almost half are in New York. ibid.
‘They had to make an example of Galante. It was a daylight assassination to send a message that we are the ones who rule, the rules are not to be broken.’ ibid.
[jaunty music] Liverpool. A world city at the heart of the new county of Merseyside. It’s a city full of contrasts. A kaleidoscope of contradictions … Liverpool Narcos I: Heroin, public information film, Sky Documentaries 2021
We don’t class ourselves as being English: we’re the People’s Republic of Liverpool [laughs]. ibid. old lady in greenhouse
We have a degree of accepted lawlessness here. It’s like Cowboys and Indians. They don’t follow the rules ’cause they’re outlaws … the epicentre of drugs … Welcome to Liverpool. ibid. comments
What was it about Liverpool that made it such a big player in thee drug trade? The docks. ibid. Michael Showers, the boss
The hard part was getting it off [ship]. Customs were very very alert in Liverpool. Our firm had people who had relatives in senior positions. And that was it. It was just a matter of choosing the right time for them to take it off. Then pass it over to our sales division. And our sales division did their work. And then when I came home, just counted the money. ibid.
Pleading guilty at 15 to something I hadn’t done was my greatest regret. My greatest regret. Because that started it all. ibid.
In the ’80s a number of things conspired to bring brown smoke-able heroin to Liverpool … 47% of black workers unemployed, 43% of white workers [news clip] … No opportunities whatsoever … Young people weren’t of any value to society, or so they felt. And then of course we had the Toxteth riots in ’81 … A visitor from the US came in the ’80s and said, This is like Beirut. This is like a bombed-out shell, a husk of a city and a number of other things … ibid. comments
The game-changer was a cheap, high-grade smoking heroin became available. It was from Pakistan. And I’ve got Pakistani family. So I immediately kind of seized the opportunity to capitalize on that. Yeah. ibid.
Yeah, and that would be 80-90%. ibid.
It was like total destruction. It spread like cancer. Straightening out your foil, putting in your little bit of powder, at the corner where you wanted it. Getting a little pleat in your foil. Tilting it a little bit. Your flame underneath the powder. And then inhaling. Everything seemed to slow down a bit. You feel comfortably numb. No more worries, no stress, nuttin’, just comfy. ibid. Billy Moore, former addict
It was an epidemic that happened in this city. You know this city was flooded with narcotics. ibid.
Everyone’s on heroin? How the hell did that happen? ibid.
Operation Rainman surveillance … Suddenly, these guys were doing seriously well. And flaunting it. And that kind of rankled with us. So we kind of took that personal. ibid. rozzers
This was the early ‘80s. You drove round in a white Rolls Royce? ibid. rozzers to Showers
So in 1983 the police tried to prosecute Michael Showers for the second time in short succession. On this occasion it was for possession of a firearm, cannabis, and heroin. The case collapsed in court. And Michael Showers to this day maintains that the case was never legitimate against him. In effect he was fitted up. ibid.
British Customs subsequently bring the heroin into the UK. ibid.
Rozzer: You were convicted of smuggling heroin?
Showers: Yes, convicted on fabricated evidence by Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise. ibid.
And he was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Which for that amount of drugs was extraordinary … The system wanted to make an example of him … ibid.
In 1991 Michael went to prison for 20 years. He served 10. Then in 2010 he was arrested in Turkey and charged with intent to supply heroin internationally. He denied the charges but was sentenced to 10 years in a Turkish prison. He returned home to Liverpool in 2016. ibid.