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This is the true story of the West Texas Chagra Family who shaped an industry and established the first true drug cartel in North America, forever defining and changing the landscape of international drug trade.
Behind every great fortune is a great crime. They shaped an industry and established the first true drug cartel in North America, forever changing the landscape of cross-border trade, crime, and conspiracy. The story they tell is not only unbelievable, it is a watershed event in the history of the drug trade in North America. This transformative series of events held the community of El Paso captive for the greater part of a decade. The story originated at the turn of the Twentieth Century and continues to play out along the International Border and throughout the American conscience. Meet the Chagras, the first family that institutionalized the illegal drug trade in North America. Kingpin was invented …here...
From the Development File, let me introduce you to our storyteller, Lee Chagra:
FADE IN SEQUENCE. This launches the protagonist as the narrator. And calling him “protagonist” is a stretch, maybe an objective, because he sure seeks your empathy. Let’s …ride.
Over the IGNITION of a large automobile.
The headlights of a vintage 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible flick on and pierce through the cold December night with an eerie haze. The engine revs up and the car starts to move across the driveway of an elegant Upper Valley estate. The house and landscape are illuminated with Christmas lights. The Cadillac exits through the large gates of the estate, under the peering gaze of security cameras and turns onto Frontera Road before disappearing into the darkness.
The Cadillac travels along a long, desolate stretch of Interstate 10 heading east towards Downtown El Paso. The driver’s arms clutch the steering wheel as he enjoys the music blaring on the radio. His wrists are weighted down with thick bands of gold bracelets.
Lee drives under intermittent highway lights, enjoying a quiet ride into town in his fine automobile. He is the picture of success. Nice house. Fine clothes and jewelry. And a fine automobile as big as the State of Texas, or at least, as big as the image he portrays.
The clicking of a door lock and the shadowy figure of a man highlight a frosted glass door to a dark office. The door swings open and two black cowboy boots can be seen stepping into the office as the light flicks on.
Lee swings open the door to his inner office as the light flicks on. He somehow looks at peace, like the weight of the world has just been lifted off his shoulders. Maybe it is the spirit of the holidays. Maybe he is elated at having won a legal case in Tucson the day before.
The bells of the church across the street start to clang and chime. It is nine o’clock at night, two days before Christmas. Lee takes off his leather jacket and tosses it across his desk. He pauses and gazes around his new law office, grinning at a long due achievement.
He quickly leans down behind his desk and opens up a small safe. He reaches into the safe and pulls out several large bundles of cash then scatters them onto his desktop, covering his leather jacket.
He picks up a bundle of cash and flips through the edges of it, as if shuffling a deck of cards. He grins contentedly and picks up another bundle of cash. He leans back in his armchair and gazes up at the ceiling.
As Lee stares into space, two shadowy masked men creep out of a dark corner of the office. One lifts a handgun, aims it at the back of Lee’s head, and fires. Lee slumps forward onto his desk, arms outstretched across the pile of cash. Blood runs down the desk and drips onto his black cowboy boots.
The two masked men quickly gather up the bundles of cash, shoving Lee’s cold, dead arms away in the process, then scurry out of the room.
“And this is where I will start my story. Let me introduce myself to you. I am …or at least I was …Lee Chagra. Father. Husband. Criminal defense attorney. Gambler. Businessman. Look at that mess. Who’s going to clean this up? And it’s almost Christmas. Guess I will miss out on the bunuelos and eggnog this year. Hey. Let’s get going. I’ve got a lot to tell. Don’t want to be around when they find …my body!”
LTD, Back in Love Again