Pure Narco: One Man’s True Story of 25 Years Inside the Cartels

Rowman & Littlefield. Nov. 2021. 576p. ISBN 9781538155516. $29.95. CRIME
Navia trafficked cocaine for decades, which ended in his takedown during the multinational Operation Journey in 2000; here, he and co-author Fink (The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC) tell his story. The Cuba-born, U.S.-raised Navia writes that he should have reaped the benefits of his wealthy upbringing and Georgetown University education. Instead, he says, he succumbed to the seductive call of the cocaine underworld and rubbed elbows with some of the most fearsome cartels in the Americas. The authors editorialize a fair amount; they depict Navia as more ethical than other drug dealers, and Navia describes himself as a “pure narco”—someone who traffics drugs without committing violence. Navia never participated in violence or murder, but he was party to their commission more times than he can count. This account relies mostly on Navia’s memories, and Fink says that he can back up the majority of Navia’s claims with research; however, the endnotes contain more asides than they do corroborating sources. The book is chopped up into 14 parts over 77 chapters and often jumps without warning between Fink’s narration and Navia’s quotes and recalled dialogue.
VERDICT Readers who enjoyed Jordan Belfort’s The Wolf of Wall Street may be interested in the debauchery of this book, but its greater appeal will be limited.
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