Despite Col. Danilo Gonzalez’s decorated career stretching over two decades, there were no official police honors at his funeral last year in Colombia, says the St. Petersburg Times. Gunned down by a hitman, Gonzalez, 50, was once one of the nation’s top police intelligence officers. He enjoyed unparalleled success in penetrating the drug trafficking underworld, working in close collaboration with U.S. law enforcement agents. The drug war eventually got the better of him. Federal prosecutors in New York named him in one of the largest drug trafficking indictments in U.S. history.
Behind Gonzalez’s fall is the story of how Colombia’s war on drugs, backed by billions of U.S. dollars, has plunged this South American nation’s ill-equipped and poorly-paid police into a whirlpool of corruption. Even today, U.S. and Colombian officials are reluctant to speak publicly about Gonzalez. He tried to meet with U.S. officials to defend his actions. He died before he got that chance.