NationalGeographic.com [an error occurred while processing this directive]


 
Zoom In

Cocaine Country



<< Back to Feature Page




View exclusive photographs and get the facts behind the frame.

Cocaine Country Zoom In Thumbnail 1
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Cocaine Country Zoom In Thumbnail 2
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Cocaine Country Zoom In Thumbnail 3
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Cocaine Country Zoom In Thumbnail 4
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Cocaine Country Zoom In Thumbnail 5
Click to ZOOM IN >>



Cocaine Country Zoom In 4

Open Secret
Photograph by Carlos Villalón

On the flat expanse of a soccer field in the middle of the town of Monserrate, a farmer dries his cocaine base in the sun. With most people breaking the law here, there's no need to hide. On farms all over the region, workers mix freshly picked coca leaves with water, cement, lime, and kerosene to extract the cocaine alkaloids. After the leaves and water are drained off, diluted sulfuric acid is added to separate out the kerosene, and sodium carbonate thickens what's left to a wet, gray paste. Further processing creates the powdery substance known as base. Thorough drying is essential—dealers won't buy base that's heavy with moisture.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 1
Film Type: Fujicolor 400
Lens:  28mm f/11 Canon
Speed and F-Stop: Unrecorded
Weather Conditions: Dry
Time of Day: Noon
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


© 2004 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe