Donald Trump: Pablo Escobar associate’s ‘bizarre plan to win war on drugs’ unveiled

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While known as El Senador, which translates as The Senator, Luis Antonio Navia was responsible for trafficking hundreds of tonnes of cocaine into the US. He was estimated to have planned the logistics behind more than £7.6billion of the drug being brought in. The Florida resident worked with some of the most revered criminal kingpins of the time. They included Pablo Escobar and his Medellín Cartel in Colombia, whose life was adapted into the Netflix TV drama Narcos. Mr Navia’s 25 years of criminality came to a halt after he was arrested and sentenced to 11 years in prison. After six years he was released and now advises drug enforcement groups around the world and co-wrote a book, Pure Narco, about his experiences. During an interview with, he described his shocking plan to end the “war on drugs”. He believes his suggestions should be implemented by the victor of the 2020 US election – either President Trump or Joe Biden – after the citizens head to the polls on Tuesday. 

Mr Navia felt that Mr Biden was the “best possible candidate” to tackle the war on drugs because of his approach to increase funding for healthcare and education. 

He warned that there “will always be drugs”, which ships on the sea will “continue to flood the nation” with, so there had to be a more dramatic change to policy.

At the “very least”, the former logistical drugs trafficker felt there needed to be more investment in social welfare and education.

Mr Navia, who released the book Pure Narco with journalist Jesse Fink last month, told “It will put kids another frame of mind and away from wanting to do drugs.

“Every year, there are less educational budgets and more military budgets, how many times go to war? Are the Russians really going to nuke us?

“We need a higher budget for education and if not, our kids are going to pay the price, the war on drugs up until now… has not worked.

“So why continue something that hasn’t worked, do something, change it around.”

Mr Navia felt they should not “eliminate all law enforcement” as “intercepting drug shipments” was important but instead they could take out the supply and consider decriminalisation. 

He told “Coca leaf is a commodity, like bananas and coffee, and a plant, it grows somewhere.

“If you have a big banana plantation and you buy all the bananas so there is none for anyone else, the price goes up – it’s called cornering the market. 

“The US government can’t buy cocaine but it could buy coca leaf, it could take $10billion (£7.7billion) to $20billion (£15.4billion) less than the combined budget of the DEA or ICE and buy all coca leaf there is out there, so there is none left for anyone else to buy.

“If you did not buy it all, say you bought 50 percent, that’s 50 percent less that can come out here.”

Mr Navia acknowledged it would be a difficult move politically and that it could “lead to bloodshed” – as he farmers often have deals with criminal organisations. 

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He continued: “In theory, you could buy the majority of this ‘commodity’ and have no coca left to process.

“But taking it out of the market has its problems also and believe it or not a lot of people make a good living out of selling it.

“With that money they do good or bad things… sometimes investing in the economy, so there’s no easy solution. 

“That’s why the best thing all around is to legalise it and have the Government tax it, like they did with liquor.” 

Mr Navia argued that alcohol was a “very dangerous substance” and from his personal experience he had never taken drugs unless under the influence of booze.

He claimed that the Government could reap “a lot of money” in tax, which could be reinvested into welfare programmes, and could also establish “quality control” for the drug.

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Mr Navia told “Then everybody has to step-up to the plate, illegal people smuggling bring better products to deal with and the legal market will find a balance.”

He admitted that “legalising may sound terrible and dangerous” but felt it could “change the playing field”. 

Mr Navia continued: “What we are doing now doesn’t work, that’s a fact, [legalisation] is a hard-sell politically, you won’t get elected for recommending it. 

“It’s a hard sell but somewhere, somebody will have to deal with the elephant in the room because that elephant is only getting bigger the longer we wait.

“The bigger the animal gets, the more damage it will cause – not that elephants are bad – it’s more like the Godzilla in the room, he’s getting bigger.

“Before it eats Tokyo and the planet, we need to do something about it and change it – I guess no one wants to take time to deal with it!”

Pure Narco: One Man’s True Story Of 25 Years Inside The Columbian And Mexican Cartels was published by Bonnier Books this month and is available here.

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