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| 10/13/2009 12:00:00 AM

Power vacuum fuels vicious drug war

Oct 13--A young man with tattoos covering one arm rolls hundreds of marijuana joints in the half-light of a shack, perched on a hillside in a Medellin slum.

A 9mm pistol and a .38 revolver lie on his work bench. An old battery-powered radio blares out the salsa music classic, "Todo Tiene Su Final" or "Everything Comes To An End."

"I'm getting calluses on my tongue rolling all these spliffs," he laughs, telling me has enough marijuana for about 1,000 joints. He and his comrades plan to sell them for about 50 cents apiece.

A few doors away, two other gang members have raided their mother's kitchen for soup plates, drinking glasses and a blender.

They've just taken delivery of a kilogram (2.2 pound) brick of pure cocaine. Their job now is to cut it and package it in gram bags to peddle on street corners they control.

A female gang member shows up with two more bags, one containing powdered caffeine and the other lidocaine, a dental anesthetic used to dilute the pure cocaine
 
Read more here.
 
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