This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the "crack" capital of the world. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.'s gangs to buy automatic weapons.
It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history: the union of a U.S.-backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the Uzi-toting "gangstas" of Compton and South-Central Los Angeles."
These are the opening sentences of Gary Webb's three-part series "Dark Alliance: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion". Published for the San Jose Mercury News, Gary Webb's year long investigation culminated in the "most talked about piece of journalism in 1996". It was released on the internet at the same time of its print publication, making it one of the first national security stories to "go viral" by bringing the Mercury's website over 1 million hits a day. "Dark Alliance" prompted congressional hearings by Rep. Maxine Waters, an internal CIA investigation in 1998, and now, 18 years later, a major motion picture starring and produced by Jeremy Renner.