Zero Zero Zero, my interview for the US edition
In many countries, “00” or double zero flour is the finest, best flour on the market. Among narco-traffickers then, “zero zero zero” is the nickname for the very purest, highest quality grade of cocaine. It is also the title of my exploration of the inner workings of the global cocaine trade— its rules and armies — and the true depth of its reach into the world economy and, by extension, its grasp on us all.
My previous work, Gomorrah, was a worldwide publishing sensation. It struck such a nerve with the Camorra that I had been living under twenty-four-hour police protection since. During this time I has come to know law enforcement agencies and officials around the world. With their cooperation, I was able to broaden my perspective to take in the entire global “corporate” entity that is the drug trade and the complex money-laundering operations that allow it to function, often with the complicity of the world’s biggest banks.
In Zero Zero Zero I track the shift in the cocaine trade’s axis of power, from Colombia to Mexico, and relate how the Latin American cartels and gangs have forged alliances, first with the Italian crime syndicates, then with the Russians, Africans, and others.
On the one hand in my research, I charted a remarkable increase in sophistication as these criminal entities diversify into many other products and markets. On the other, I unfolded the astonishing increase in the severity of violence as they have fought to protect and extend their power.
Most drug-war narratives feel safely removed from our own lives; Zero Zero Zero offers no such comfort. The result is a truly harrowing and groundbreaking synthesis of intimate literary narrative and geopolitical analysis of one of the most powerful dark forces in our economy. I hope my readers enjoy it.