the characters

Statesmen, spies, and businessmen play their role in a lethal game of cops and robbers, while the thugs, criminals and assassins on the ground carry out a bloody campaign against mostly innocent victims and leave communities reeling.
George Bush

George H.W. Bush

Scion of the Anglo-American eastern establishment, and Skull & Bones alum who was responsible for the escalation and expansion of the war on drugs.

José Lopez Portillo

President of Mexico during the early eighties, who oversaw the country's biggest economic crisis, which prepared the ground for the rise of the drug cartels
Oliver North

Oliver North

Notorious U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel who was an important cog in the drug and gun running operation known as Iran-Contra during the 1980's.
Miguel Angel Treviño

Miguel Ángel Treviño

Known as Z-40, he was the bloodthirsty second-in-command of Mexico's most violent drug cartel, directly responsible for thousands of murders and disappearances.
Caro Quintero

Caro Quintero

Cartel grunt who tortured and killed undercover DEA agent, Enrique ''Kiki'' Camarena after his cover was blown by an unknown employee of the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara.
Barry Seal

Barry Seal

Long-time CIA asset and drug smuggler, who operated his own small fleet of airplanes to fly tons of cocaine, Quaaludes and other narcotics into the United States.
Felipe Calderon

Felipe Calderón

President of Mexico during one of the deadliest periods of the drug war. His administration was marked by scandals and failures surrounding his anti-narcotics initiatives.
Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Current president of the United States, whose immigration and trade policies are ushering in a new, and possibly more violent phase of the so-called war on drugs.
Edmund Pratt

Edmund Pratt

Former CEO of pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, and Reagan appointee to the ACTN who led the campaign to make intellectual property a cornerstone of U.S. trade policy.



Borderline begins with a tragic scene in Coahuila, Mexico, where a violent drug cartel, facilitated by dubious DEA practices, left over three hundred people dead or missing in the short span of three days. From here, we trace back the origins of the drug trade, not in the developing world, but in 19th century Boston and the opium barons who ushered in the real foundations of modern-day America with fortunes built through drug trafficking. Armed with this perspective, Borderline examines the invisible thread that runs underneath the current epidemic of drug violence in Latin America, the massive illicit drug market in the United States, and how such seemingly unrelated themes like intellectual property and mineral rights play a vital role in the more than four-decade long war on drugs. Meanwhile, the border between the United States and Mexico looms large, as a historic shift in relations precipitated by the political climate in both countries augurs an uncertain future. Borderline concludes with a look at the aftermath of the DEA’s actions in Coahuila, and how the war on drugs is entering a new phase as the Anglo-American establishment attempts to consolidate military and economic power, not only south of the border, but the world.
borderline credits

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