Law of the Jungle: The Hunt for Colombian Guerrillas, American Hostages, and Buried Treasure

By John Otis

“Truth be informed, they have been often in it for the cash”

On February thirteen, 2003, a airplane sporting 3 American army contractors on a recon patrol crash-landed within the jungle-covered mountains of Colombia. inside of mins, FARC guerrillas swarmed the wreckage and killed the yankee pilot and a Colombian team member as they attempted to flee. The survivors—Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes—were marched at gunpoint into the rain wooded area. they might reside in consistent darkness less than the jungle cover as they confronted hunger, fights with fellow hostages, and threats of execution—often with their necks shackled jointly.

The Colombian executive despatched 147 infantrymen to rescue the americans. Led via a daring but corpulent lieutenant, the troops spent weeks subsisting on monkey meat and Amazon rodents as they chased the guerrillas deeper into the jungle. yet then a soldier on a rest room holiday caught his machete into the floor and pulled out 20 million pesos, equaling $7,000. beautiful quickly, the younger, negative, and exhausted troops discovered that they had stumbled upon a buried insurgent cache of $20 million. inside 3 days, the GIs burned via their newfound fortune, splurging on booze, intercourse, and flat-screen televisions. And although the money introduced excitement, for lots of of the warriors it can lead to felony prosecution or maybe dying by means of FARC hit males.

Law of the Jungle areas the Colombian hostage tale in its complete context by way of exploring the internal workings of the FARC, the U.S.-backed struggle on medicinal drugs, and Colombia's efforts to unfastened the rebel-held prisoners. John Otis, a veteran journalist at the Latin American beat, spins an edge-of-your-seat experience narrative that provides a stunning cautionary story concerning the pursuit of fortune in a single of the world's most deadly locations.

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From then on, Keith dragged Malia round Colquitt through the left hand so each person could ooh and ah on the marvelous rock on her ring finger. “When a girl says, ‘I’m engaged,’ first thing humans say is, ‘Let me see your ring. ’ He acquired that,” Malia acknowledged. “Not loads of men get it. ” The likely chuffed couple deliberate to get married on might 31, 2003, aboard a cruise send within the Caribbean. yet anything was once consuming Keith. almost immediately after surroundings the date, Keith acknowledged that with the clean begin of marriage he desired to own up to his fiancée. After hemming and hawing, he blurted out that he used to be seeing Patricia in Bogotá. Malia flew right into a rage. Keith enable her scream, then attempted to make peace. He acknowledged that he was once breaking issues off with Patricia and that he desired to spend the remainder of his lifestyles with Malia. although deeply damage, Malia believed him and the wedding used to be again on. yet by way of then Patricia was once 4 months pregnant. Malia figured out after intercepting an email from Patricia soliciting for cash. “I requested him: ‘Do you brain explaining this to me? ’” Malia acknowledged. “I confirmed him the pc monitor and that’s whilst he advised me she was once pregnant. ” “Then he acknowledged: ‘With twins. ’” speaking quickly, Keith claimed to have all of it discovered. He had talked to an legal professional. He instructed Malia that he would supply monetary help to his transforming into kinfolk in Colombia yet except constructing a Miami checking account, he may now not be concerned. His family members was once Malia, Lauren, and Kyle. He advised Malia that he suggestion Patricia had stopped taking her birth-control drugs so she may perhaps bag a filthy rich gringo. And once more, Keith talked of creating a clean begin. He desired to marry Malia. His agreement with California Microwave expired in March 2003 and instead of re-up in Colombia he might cool down in Colquitt. He even mused approximately moving into legislation enforcement. occasionally Keith dropped through the police station to hang around with the lads whereas one of many officials, Jason Wells, lived round the corner. Jason remembered his acquaintances spending so much in their time with the children, and acknowledged Keith hardly ever observed his task. however the evening prior to Keith left for Colombia—three days ahead of the Grand Caravan crashed—the males had dinner jointly and Jason requested what might ensue if his surveillance airplane ever went down. “He stated all you do is name within the coordinates,” Jason stated. “He carried a nine-millimeter Baretta and a survival pack and stated he’d attempt to cover until eventually aid arrived. yet i feel he was once beginning to get involved. i may inform it used to be bothering him. He acknowledged this was once going to be his final journey. ” bankruptcy 6 BLADE CREEP AS visitors OF THE FARC, KEITH, Marc, and Tom have been instantly hustled out of sight, pressured to march for 24 instantly days, each one step taking them deeper into the jungle-covered mountains. It used to be slow-motion torture. Keith had damaged a number of ribs within the crash and his accidents, mixed with the incessant marching, resulted in persistent diarrhea and vomiting. Tom suffered a concussion. Marc struggled with again and hip soreness.

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