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#1 L.A. drug kingpin: Waterhead Bo Bennett

Bennett's rise to riches is an example of the cocaine trade's devastating impact on the nation's impoverished urban neighborhoods, which are breeding a new, sophisticated -- and violent -- kind of criminal. By offering dreams of wealth, the business has lured some of the best and brightest young minds in the inner cities. To Bennett, an unsophisticated youth with a talent for business, dealing cocaine was a path to success.

In Bennett's view, forming a partnership with Colombia's Cali cartel was a lucrative business opportunity. His main supplier, a drug lord known to him only as "Oscar," was in effect the chairman of the board of a multinational enterprise. Bennett saw himself as chief executive officer of the California subsidiary. He had an associate, Mario Villabona, who had moved from Colombia to California in 1983. Villabona, a protege of Oscar's, amounted to the California president.

Bennett's good fortune began when Oscar instructed Villabona to develop a market for crack in ghetto areas. It was a bold but necessary business decision. By the mid-1980s, the price of powdered cocaine had fallen, in part because sales to affluent whites had peaked. Crack, the tiny smokable rock, could be immensely profitable if it could be moved in huge quantities. Blacks were a tempting new market.

Villabona somehow selected Bennett to become the Cali group's first connection with black street gangs in the U.S. With Villabona, he swiftly built an empire that by 1988 was moving one ton of cocaine a week and pulling in gross income of up to $4 million a month. For more go to Al Profit's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClj1qXQJzFEIq6prVsApR1w

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