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Addict Village

At first glance, Bluefields Nicaragua looks like any other rum-soaked, Rastafarian-packed, hammock-infested Caribbean paradise. But Bluefields has a secret. People here don't have to work. Every week – sometimes every day – sacks of floating cocaine – 35 kilos each - drift in from the sea. The economy of this entire town of 50,000 tranquil souls is addicted to cocaine.

Bluefields, you see, is a gift from the gods of Geography. Located halfway between the cocaine labs of Colombia and the 300 million noses of the United States, Bluefields is ground zero for cocaine transportation. Nicaraguan waters shore up near Colombian territorial limits, making the area extremely popular with cocaine smugglers using very small, very fast fishing boats.

The US military calls them "go fast boats" which is a bureaucratic way of describing these mini water rockets. Typically these 12 meter boats have 800 HP of outboard motors bolted to the stern. While they are very fast, they are also very visible to the array of radars set up by roaming US spy planes, Coast Guard cutters and helicopters which regularly monitor the speeding cocaine traffickers. "With night vision equipment, I have seen a lit cigarette from two miles," a US Navy Pilot said. "Or the back light from their GPS screen? It looks like a billboard."

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