Screenshot of Nautla photo gallery from SignOnSanDiego website
The tiny village of Nautla, Mexico, is an informal “sister city” for San Diego’s cocaine users. More than 100 Nautlans have been detained over the years after being linked to a loose confederation of drug-dealing franchises that sold cocaine to San Diego area residents. Many were caught during an undercover operation called Operation Veracruz.
In 2005, The San Diego Union-Tribune sent me and a photographer to Nautla to learn more about the unusual ties that bind these two communities and you can read the story on the paper’s SignOnSanDiego website. Nautla is in a beautiful part of Mexico – along the Veracruz coast – but I’m not sure I will be welcomed back anytime soon.
Inevitably, new entrepreneurs showed up to take the place of the ones that had been deported (For the record: Not every Nautlan is involved in this). In the most recent development, the San Diego division of the Drug Enforcement Administration reports that two more Nautlans – a father and son team this time – face time behind bars after authorities linked them to cocaine found in one of their homes. The duo apparently earned about $10,000 a month from their illicit enterprise, according to a DEA press release. Alejandro Olmedo-Castro, 29, was sentenced to six months in jail and Ruperto Olmedo-Zaletas, 52, was sentenced to three years in prison, but both face deportation upon their release. I am waiting for the press release to be posted online so that I can link to it (hint, hint).