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tv   Frontline  PBS  July 21, 2015 10:00pm-11:31pm PDT

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>> tonight, frontline presents... >> joaquín "el chapo" guzmán broke out of a maximum security prison... >> ...a portrait of mexico's infamous drug lord joaquín "el chapo" guzmán. >> a manhunt is underway to recapture joaquín guzmán... >> the man named "el chapo" is back on the run. >> years in the making, two filmmakers journey deep inside his sinaloa cartel. >> we have come to distrust everything we are told about the war on drugs. >> reaching his inner circle. >> they said that he's not going to speak with us right now. he said yes, but not now. >> and his family.
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>> in search of a man no prison can hold. >> chapo guzmán, he is the subject of a manhunt that is without parallel in mexico right now. >> tonight on frontline, "drug lord: the legend of shorty." >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support for frontline is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information is available at additional support is provided by the park foundation dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. at the wyncote foundation.
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and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. (door closes) (footsteps) (gun cocks) (gun cocks) (wind rustling) (insects chirring) ♪ ♪
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>> guillermo galdos: the story goes that many years ago 20 men were sent to build the tunnel. >> (singing in spanish): >> galdos: here is where a legend was made. >> (singing): ♪ ♪
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(singing continues) >> chapo guzmán, in my opinion is the most dangerous criminal in the world, second to none. >> (singing continues) >> joaquin guzmán loera, alias chapo guzmán, is attempting to avoid the most significant and
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persistent pursuit ever. (old tv theme music playing) >> galdos: joaquin guzmán, known as el chapo, or shorty, had been on the run from the mexican and u.s. governments for over 13 years. yet during this time, he had built up the biggest drugs
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empire in history. along with british filmmaker angus macqueen, i have been filming the drugs trade for years, and we have come to distrust everything we are told about the war on drugs. we believe the authorities knew exactly where el chapo was and could get him anytime they wanted. so in autumn 2012, we set out to prove this by seeing if two filmmakers could find the world's most wanted drug trafficker. (siren blaring) we began in chicago, the headquarters of el chapo sinaloa cartel in the u.s. the authorities have named him public enemy number one...
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>> this is a man that most americans have never heard of. >> galdos: ...the same title they gave to al capone over 80 years ago. >> but we're using this title which we first gave to al capone in 1930. and this is the second time we've ever felt necessary to use it. in chicago alone, over 90% of the marijuana, cocaine, heroin methamphetamine, and other synthetic drugs that are being sold on the streets while we're standing here have come from the sinaloa cartel. >> galdos: el chapo ran the cartel like a terrorist group. he had a whole range of distributors in chicago operating as independent cells. so using old contacts, we found a family that have been bringing drugs from mexico for decades. and just like in the movies, our
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man turned up in a private jet. >> when you have a chance, turn right, coming up. it's all about family. you know, we're still cowboys. take care of our own. well, basically, we all work for the same guy. most of us do. >> how has he managed to build up so much power? >> ask him that. (laughs) i don't know. because he's smart. a smart little (bleep). >> i'm just a logistics man. logistics, i think it through and find a way. and it comes...
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the price comes from down there. we don't set the price here. it comes from down there. depending on how much they want and what bulk. it could be in the hundreds, it could be in tons, you know, depending. the price changes, but it's set from down there. that's it. it's just like working for a company, an organization a corporation. just the same thing, you know? you're subcontracted to perform a job and that's it, no questions asked. it's just like that. it takes a look in the eye and a handshake. (speaking spanish) you never know who you work for. maybe he doesn't even exist. he's just a myth. can't find him, right? the best police in the world can't find him. well, there you go.
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>> go through this. >> don't worry, take your time. >> (singing): >> i think that's sorted it.
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>> we've hit a lot of, uh... >> you've hit most of the marks. >> i could hit this one. just... oh my god. getting into the sinaloa cartel, i never knew what i was gonna get into. the expanse and the tentacles, it's just a massive octopus just floating around the world to large hub areas-- chicago and then, you know, up into canada, near montreal. and then transiting, you know, via cargo container to hong kong, into the australia market. the australian market, you know, up to $200,000 a kilogram of cocaine. which is, you know, at a kilo that might cost $18,000 in l.a., but it makes it to australia look at the profit margin. it's just unbelievable. the power structure is constantly changing, but what doesn't change is chapo guzmán at the helm of this corporate empire. you know, somebody sitting in lebanon may not necessarily know the person that's in belize that's talking to the person in
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sinaloa, but they're all complicit in the same conspiracy. and this is a major arrest down in mexico city where there was $200-plus million seized. but that was the wake-up call. >> $200 million? >> yes, a massive stack inside one condominium in mexico city just in the walls, in the closets, just unbelievable staggering amount of u.s. currency. all from the sale of chemicals for the production of methamphetamine. it's a corporate operation. it's no different than a home depot or a wal-mart, with a ceo and directors and financial staff. but these are corporate
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infrastructures making millions on behalf of chapo guzmán. i mean, you don't end up in forbes magazine by not being you know, a smart entrepreneur. ♪ ♪ >> ♪ look at the dollar watch it roll, roll, roll straight down the freeway down to old mexico... ♪ >> galdos: we decided to follow the money back to mexico and el chapo. so we set off for the border to find the only man we knew had actually met him. >> ♪ these are chapo's towns where is he now? ♪
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>> galdos: we first met el flaco four years ago. he's still breaking the cardinal rule of smuggling: don't use your own product. for 20 years, he's been shipping kilos of drugs into the u.s. under the protection of the man they call el señor.
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(dog barking) >> galdos: el flaco operates out of these violent back streets less than a mile from the border with california. i have witnessed some of the thousands of killings here victims of the battle to control the most lucrative smuggling routes in the world. a u.s. agent once told us that he's waiting for tijuana to cave in from all the tunnels el chapo has running underneath. el flaco has come to trust us. he agreed to let his friends in the cartel know that we were looking for el chapo. we ended up locked in a garage with the car and lots of methamphetamine.
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(machine whirring)
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♪ ♪ >> ♪ there are plenty of ways to carry what you want across the border ♪ submarines go underwater, planes will carry it through the air ♪ the best technique of all are not the catapults to texas ♪ or the freight trains to chicago but the tunnels everywhere ♪ you can smuggle along the road jalapeno tins to move it ♪ you can smuggle through the air, 747s, 30 tons ♪ you can smuggle through the sea ♪ we've got submarines to prove it but the tunnels underground, that's the genius guzmán. ♪ >> as you can see, the tunnel has lighting and it does have good airflow indicating that there's some type of ventilation system forcing air in from mexico. (horns honking)
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>> galdos: in mexico, el chapo's name provokes fear and admiration.
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few who have met him dare to speak even about his past. but the first man to have him in handcuffs was relaxed enough to invite us home. >> galdos: cardinal posadas was murdered at guadalajara airport in 1993. it is rumored he had information on the government's involvement with the drug cartels. el chapo was at the airport that day, but always denied having anything to do with the murder.
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>> (announcer speaking spanish) (camera shutter clicks) >> galdos: el chapo was paraded for the press. this was the only known footage of him.
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>> galdos: while he was inside many of his rivals were killed leaving the road clear for him to rise to the top from behind bars.
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>> galdos: three journalists i have worked with are among the 60 that have been killed here in the past decade. not surprisingly, anabel
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hernandez goes nowhere without a bodyguard. >> galdos: anabel has directly accused the authorities of being involved in el chapo's rise to power, from prison officials to each of the last four presidents of mexico.
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♪ ♪ >> galdos: zulema released the text of letters el chapo had sent her in prison.
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>> give me the legs. have you found it? what's it say? >> galdos: it says, "nobody dies while kept alive in the heart of somebody. you will always sleep in my heart." clearly it's been kept, you know, nicely. you need to pay for that. who's paying? >> so what exactly happened to her? >> galdos: she was found in the back of a car, and her body had been tortured, and... >> to punish el chapo? >> galdos: yeah. el chapo's rivals, the zetas cartel, believed the story of
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the romance and kidnapped zulema soon after she was released. her body was discovered mutilated in the trunk of a car. she had been raped and was left with a "z" for zetas carved in her belly and buttocks. >> ♪ the 19th of january, 2001
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that was the year that el chapo guzmán got away. ♪ ♪ no one paid attention in the penitentiary ♪ no one saw the cot that carried dirty laundry ♪ open the gates to the hills of sinaloa yes, the king has returned from a trip with the law. ♪
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>> ♪ the last time they saw him was by a gas station ♪ over the hills not far from his nation he's free. ♪ ♪ the king of green gold and white rocks that glisten ♪ has returned from his stay in a five-star prison ♪ a million or two, that's the price of freedom ♪ goes to show mouths stay shut just as long as you feed them. ♪ ♪ oh, the 19th of january, 2001 that was the year that el chapo guzmán got away. ♪ ♪ the ten years before he was down in culiacán ♪ a city of legends
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that is stooped in tradition ♪ the most dangerous of seas, he's the biggest fish inside it ♪ anything hustlers need, chapo's there to provide it. ♪ >> galdos: culiacán is home to el chapo's sinaloa cartel supplying drugs to every corner of the world. here, you never know who works for whom, let alone who killed who and why. one lesson we've learnt over the years: trust no one. like many journalists and dignitaries, we were taken on the official tour to show how seriously the government takes the search for el chapo and the battle with his cartel. >> (speaking spanish)
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(siren blaring) >> the government of mexico now is earnestly seeking his capture and incarceration. chapo guzmán is on the run. he is attempting to avoid what has become the most significant
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and persistent pursuit ever. he is the subject of a manhunt that is without parallel in mexico right now. one of three fates awaits chapo guzmán. either he will be captured and brought to justice he will die in his attempt to evade that, or he will spend the rest of his days looking over his shoulder, attempting to avoid one of those two fates. we will not stop. this is a relentless pursuit and with a little luck, he will end up incarcerated and imprisoned for the rest of his life. >> galdos: the reality is el chapo and the sinaloa cartel
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rule this town with the combination of money and fear. we have met governors who have later been accused of having lunch with el chapo, politicians and policemen who turn out to work for him. he was known to go out for the occasional evening meal. el chapo lived in culiacán before his arrest in 1993. our driver needed serious persuasion to take us to his old house. the state seized the property, but it remains deserted because no one dares to buy it. it took time to find someone who knew el chapo well.
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adolfo salazar is one of a rare breed: a cartel boss who has made retirement, and so was willing to talk openly.
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♪ ♪
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>> galdos: adolfo said he had no idea where el chapo was now
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but he was confident he could deliver our request to meet him. while we waited, we wanted to visit the mausoleum el chapo had built for his son edgar. but no one would take us there without permission. edgar was reported murdered in a supermarket car park by a rival cartel in 2008. when permission came, it was the first sign that el chapo must know that we were looking for him. now, if we didn't have permission to go to this town, we wouldn't be able to hang around the cemetery or anywhere near there.
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we would definitely be picked up by armed people. >> and they know we're coming, do they? >> galdos: they certainly do. the guard made clear that we were the first outsiders to visit. and then we heard a completely different story of edgar's killing. apparently, it was a mistake. the same people of el chapo killed him by mistake in the mall in culiacán. and i think this mausoleum shows a little bit he must feel
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a bit guilty for it. >> so he killed his own son? >> galdos: his people. >> galdos: as we finished filming, we were told el chapo's ex-wife, griselda, the boy's mother, had not given her permission. then, a call came that she had sent armed men, as well as the police, to stop us. we headed straight for the
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airport. >> come on, tell me, what were we running away from? >> galdos: i think we are not the only people that speak english here. >> i know. >> galdos: and i would like to remind you that we're still in culiacán. >> and should we still be frightened? >> galdos: absolutely, yes. clearly, the death of edgar remains an open wound between el chapo and his ex-wife. >> galdos: el flaco was with el chapo at the time of edgar's killing in 2008.
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>> galdos: publicly, another cartel was blamed for the murder
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of edgar. el chapo turned culiacán into a war zone. rival cartels began leaving bodies with messages, claiming that el chapo and the government were working together. it took another trip to culiacán and secret meetings with senior cartel bosses before we could take the next step towards el chapo. (phone ringing) >> galdos: but we were warned it was too dangerous to travel by land into the mountains with a gringo. that is why we were introduced
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to el chino and heard the song of his life. >> (coughs) (speaking spanish) (siren blaring) (speaking spanish)
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(coughs) (singing)
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(engine stops) (singing)
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(engine roaring) >> galdos: none of the guns or threats of violence had scared us half as much as sitting at the foot of the runway with el chino, no flight plan and only a vague idea of where we were going. >> (speaking spanish) (engine roaring)
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nice plane! no need to shout! friend! ♪ ♪
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(engine roaring) (plane rattling on landing)
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>> galdos: that night, we slept in the heart of the golden triangle. angus was watched like a spy by heavily armed men who had only seen gringos on tv. our host was the local sinaloa war lord who owns the hills and valleys around.
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(birds chirping)
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(steer roaring) (steer grunting) >> (speaking spanish) (laughter)
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>> (man shouts) >> galdos: lunch for el chapo's army, some of the most wanted men in mexico, was beef, beer, and cocaine. our identities were checked on their high-speed internet network. both of us sense el chapo really was close by.
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♪ ♪ >> galdos: they told us the military regularly sends in helicopters, and we worried about being caught in the crossfire. they reassured us that they got three hours' warning before any raid.
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(mobile phone game beeping)
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(engine revving) >> galdos: these men smuggle cocaine and meth all over the world. but the heroin and marijuana grown here still bring the cartel billions of dollars. ♪ ♪ (song sung in spanish): ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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(song ends) (engine roaring)
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>> galdos: it was strange, flying with the troops over la sierra, looking for the el chapo and his men, when we now knew what was going on beneath. we wondered which of these men or the officers, or the generals above them, was working for the cartel.
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>> i assure you that chapo guzmán is not out flitting about in restaurants and living the high life. in fact, without getting into the details, we can tell you that he's much closer to the saddam hussein model, living in a spider hole and moving from place to place, because of the fear that he's gonna be captured. and that's the way it needs to stay until we get him. >> how do you know he's doing that? >> not gonna say. we know, but i can't tell you how we know. (propeller whirring) >> galdos: just as we were preparing to make contact again, a phone was found during a military raid. on it was film of el chapo interrogating a man, tied up with his trousers round his ankles.
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>> galdos: here was the brutal reality of the man we were looking for.
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yet every day, we worried that someone might get to him first. >> he is one of the most wanted criminals in the world. mexican drug lord joaquin guzmán, also known as el chapo. >> yeah, this guy's been on the loose since escaping from a maximum security prison back in 2001, reportedly by hiding in a laundry cart. now, there are reports saying that guzmán may have been killed in a gunfight in a remote section of guatemala. >> galdos: concerned i rang our contact. he laughed and invited us to lunch, not in culiacán, but in the mountains in la tuna at the guzmán home. no one we knew had ever been here. driving without the cartel's permission is suicide. but with it, even the police just wave us through.
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>> (speaking spanish)
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>> galdos: only one person could have arranged for us to have lunch with mrs. guzmán.
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two hours later, we were being driven up the mountain to a place they call heaven on his direct instructions.
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>> what happened? >> galdos: nothing. basically they said that, um... basically, they said that he's not going to speak with us right now. he said yes, but not now. and it feels funny because we can certainly feel that he's around here, and they called him on a mobile phone. yeah, so he must be around. >> but hasn't he just been politely telling us to go away? >> galdos: no, because the style of these people is if they say no, it's "no, thank you very much." they don't play around like that. certainly, it's not in their interest that we come up here a lot. we can bring trouble with us. so, you know, that's what i believe. >> so he is somewhere between his birthplace and culiacán, that's what...? >> galdos: yeah, they say that
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he spends most of his time around here and culiacán. >> that's weird, isn't it? it's the most obvious place for him to be. >> galdos: yeah, possibly the safest. over the following months, we were twice more invited up to la tuna. each time, el chapo decided not to go on camera. for all the disappointment, we had found him exactly where we had expected him to be. >> are we ready? >> galdos: yeah. so why hadn't the authorities, who were offering five million dollars for his capture?
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>> galdos: el chapo was just around the corner. it was surreal, standing there watching his security people openly phoning and texting even sending photos.
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the u.s. and mexican governments simply had to know where he was. but presumably, el chapo was still more useful free as the world's most wanted drug trafficker.
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♪ ♪ >> ♪ they call him a savior, savior of the land ♪ oh, where's the behavior? he never rose his head ♪ then they told him to lay low lay low away
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♪ yeah, they told him to lay low, lay low away. ♪ ♪ we are all in the game we are all in the game ♪ we are all in the game we are all in the game ♪ cártel de sinaloa cártel de tijuana ♪ cártel de juárez familia michoacana ♪ cártel del golfo, zetas estamos unidos para luchar. ♪
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♪ and he reached out for his gun, and then it all went wrong ♪ so they fired in return and the lads, they all went "bada, bada, bada, bada..." ♪ (gunfire outside) >> (singing in spanish) spanish) (gunshot)
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so they picked up el chapo before we could convince him to speak. why then we will never know for certain. but the story of el chapo guzman was not over.
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>> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support for frontline is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information is available at additional support is provided by the park foundation dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. at the wyncote foundation. and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler.
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captioned by media access group at wgbh >> for more on this and other frontline programs, visit our website at frontline's "drug lord: the legend of shorty" is available on dvd. to order, visit or call 1-800-play-pbs. frontline is also available for download on itunes.
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"we are here tonight to explore tough issues." "you've gotta have people around you who aren't just laying rose petals in front of your way." "and i kid you not this is true." ♪ i don't ever want to let you down. ♪ "trust is everything." ♪ i don't ever want to leave this town. ♪ "this has been so much fun." ♪ 'cause after all... ♪ "it's about reaching people." ♪ the city never sleeps at night. ♪ ♪ it's time to begin, isn't it? ♪ "there are more players on the world stage." ♪ now don't you understand... ♪ "the issues are more complex" ♪ ...that i'm never changing who i am. ♪ ♪ it's time to begin, isn't it? ♪ "we ask the questions that take us closer to the truth." ♪ i get a little bit bigger but then i'll admit, ♪
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"what happened, and what might happen." ♪ i'm just the same as i was... ♪ "'cause that's what we do." ♪ don't you understand... ♪ "would you like doing something like i do?" "i couldn't do this! i'm not qualified!" "i was thinking exactly the same thing." [laughter] mother: "what are you doing?" possibilities, your day is filled with them. dance instructor: "reach up, energy in the finger tips. collapse." woman: "t.v., play downton abbey." and pbs helps everyone discover theirs. anytime, anywhere. father: "up in the sky, you might see it." pbs, we're with you, for life.
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