The gripping true story of an indigenous people running the world’s mightiest narco-state—and America’s struggle to thwart them. In Asia’s narcotics-producing heartland, the Wa reign supreme. They dominate the Golden Triangle, a mountainous stretch of Burma between Thailand and China. Their 30,000-strong army, wielding missiles and attack drones, makes Mexican cartels look like street gangs.
Wa moguls are unrivaled in the region’s $60 billion meth trade and infamous for mass-producing pink, vanilla-scented speed pills. Drugs finance Wa State, a bona fide nation with its own laws, anthems, schools, and electricity grid. Though revered by their people, Wa leaders are scorned by US policymakers as vicious “kingpins” who “poison our society for profit.”
In Narcotopia, award-winning journalist Patrick Winn uncovers the truth behind Asia’s top drug-trafficking organization, as told by a Wa commander turned DEA informant. This gripping narrative shreds drug war myths and leads to a chilling revelation: the Wa syndicate’s origins are smudged with CIA fingerprints.
This is a saga of native people tapping the power of narcotics to create a nation where there was none before — and covert US intelligence operations gone wrong.
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Patrick Winn is an award-winning investigative journalist who covers rebellion and black markets in Southeast Asia. He enters the worlds of guerrillas and vigilantes to mine stories that might otherwise go ignored. Winn has received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (also known as the ‘poor man’s Pulitzer’) and a National Press Club award. He’s also a three-time winner of Amnesty International’s Human Rights Press Awards among other prizes.