More from recent CNN.com opinion pieces…
By Jorge Salcedo, “the insider who brought down the Cali cartel”
Drug cartels cannot function without massive assistance from compromised officials at all levels. Corruption is the oxygen that keeps organized crime alive. I know something about corruption and organized crime. I spent more than six years in the biggest, richest syndicate in the history of crime — the Cali cartel. Mexico, like Colombia, can’t succeed against its drug gangs without choking off the bribery and intimidation that sustain them.
In the cartel, others were more directly involved in routine bribery. Still, I managed to deliver nearly a million dollars in payoffs. And I witnessed many, many millions more. Maybe my experience helps show the importance of fighting corruption as a way to fight the cartels.
I used to be Jorge Salcedo. I left my name in Colombia when I entered the U.S. witness protection program 16 years ago.