Cooking for the Cartel: Inside Mexico’s Secret Fentanyl Labs
Commissioned by Channel 4 News
“The report demonstrated incredible access. It not only provided us with a rare insight into the drug trade, but also taught us a lot about the immense danger posed by fentanyl as the United States grapples with this crisis. Guillermo’s piece was masterfully scripted as well as had high-quality filming, beautiful storytelling and access cleverly secured. It was the whole package.”
-News Award Jury
This film gives a unique insight into the clandestine world of Mexico’s drug producers. Through a series of tense negotiations, filmmaker Guillermo Galdos gained the trust of some of the most dangerous gangs in North America and was able to peek behind the curtain of the cartel’s fentanyl production operations.
The access he secured drew the viewer away from the traditional scenes of narcotic production. There were no rolling hillsides of marijuana or coca leaf or sprawling poppy fields to be seen. Galdos was able to speak to the operatives who mixed the deadly cocktail of chemicals, bringing suffering and death to the streets of the US in the form of the opioid fentanyl.
He also spoke to the ‘sicarios’, the brutal cartel soldiers waging a war with the Mexican state to ensure their bosses hold sway in large parts of the country while securing the supply lines and markets for their bosses’ devastating trade. The film paints a depressing picture of the challenges facing both the Mexican and US authorities in their fight against the spread of a narcotic so deadly that it’s ripping apart communities.
For the past two decades, Guillermo Galdos has worked as a journalist across South America and Mexico, telling stories that open a window on some of the most inaccessible and dangerous places in the world. He has filed remarkable films on subjects from migration to drug trafficking, but has also told human stories of struggle, hardship and happiness from across the region.
Not just a skilled correspondent, he also films and produces many of his films himself and with his brother Rodrigo. The stories he chooses to tell give his viewers a chance to experience in some small way the issues and events shaping the lives of the people of Latin America. His work has won him multiple awards, and a Bafta nomination in 2006.