Diego Luna plays drug lord Félix Gallardo, who is set on building a criminal empire in a new series following the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel in Mexico in the 1980s.
‘With the death of Pablo Escobar, the Mexicans became the kings of cocaine’ ERIC NEWMAN
Over three seasons, acclaimed Netflix true-life drama Narcos explored the Colombian drug cartels led by Pablo Escobar, who made billions by shipping cocaine into the United States.
However, as a new Narcos spin-off reveals, the Colombians weren’t the only people making their fortunes. At the same time, Mexican gangs were working alongside the Colombians to smuggle drugs over the border.
‘With the death of Escobar in 1993, the Mexicans took over and became the kings of cocaine,’ says executive producer Eric Newman. ‘The US shares 1,900 miles of border with Mexico, so it made perfect sense.’
The series follows former police officer Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna), who controlled almost all of the drug trafficking in Mexico.
‘Gallardo was a visionary,’ says Newman. ‘He found a way to unite the traffickers of Mexico, who at the time were disparate, one-man operations, and created the Guadalajara Cartel, the first super cartel.’
As the American government battled the flood of drugs into the country, undercover DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña) infiltrated Gallardo’s cartel – but at huge risk to his safety.
‘The collision between these two men was the first shot in the war,’ says Newman. ‘It seemed like a natural place to start. It allows us to tell the
Mexican drug war in its entirety from1980 into the present.’
Today, Mexican cartels take in over $20 billion from drug sales in the US, and more than 200,000 people have been killed or have disappeared since Mexico’s government declared war on organised crime in 2006.
Sadly, one victim was Carlos Muñoz Portal, who was shot dead last year while scouting for locations for
‘It was a terrible tragedy,’ Newman says. ‘We had to pause a moment, mourn and then carefully consider whether or not we could proceed safely.
‘Authenticity is so important to us, and we felt we had to do the story of the Guadalajara Cartel in Mexico. But we made every attempt to film only in the areas that we knew to be safe.’
DIEGO LUNA AS DRUG LORDGALLARDO
MICHAEL PEÑA AS AGENTKIKI CAMARENA