El Jefe was the boss of our operation.
I met him once in Bogota, Colombia, and I spoke to him four times on the phone. I don’t know very much about him — because I didn’t ask. Asking isn’t something you did. He was a man of mystery and planned to keep it that way.
He was well-connected in the Colombian government, had influence with the army generals, and connections all over the world.
Once when we had to move our operation from Venezuela to Panama, and we needed merchandise ASAP, within 24 hours the boss had 1000 kilos of cocaine in Panama ready to be shipped.
When I worked with him, he was in his early 40s, 5′ 10” and weighed about 165 lbs. His hair was thin and black with cruel streaks of grey.
He was soft-spoken with a calm personality, but never took “no” for an answer.
El Jefe appreciated my work and once said to me, “You’re always welcome in Colombia. Stay as long as you like. Your money is no good here.”
I felt as though he had just given me the keys to the country.
Excerpted from the forthcoming memoir, The Baggage Handler.