in the Life of an Anarchist
Unlike many of the previous interviewees, who dealt drugs primarily out of economic necessity, the Anarchist smuggled drugs as a form of rebellion and to feed a heroin habit. Coming from an upper-middle-class upbringing on El Paso’s west side, the Anarchist was introduced to marijuana when he was about eleven years old, and then to heroin at age fifteen. By then, he had also tried other illicit drugs, such as alcohol, LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and cocaine. But the Anarchist feels that it was when he started using heroin, upon entering high school at age fifteen, that his long downward spiral into addiction really began. He says that “domestic problems were a gateway into heroin use” and trafficking.
Contrary to the common assumption that drug traffickers emerge exclusively from poor backgrounds, members of the middle and upper classes are well represented in the drug trade. Examples include marijuana kingpin Donald Steinberg; the narco-junior cum drug lord Arellano Félix brothers and their sister, of Tijuana; Texas rancher-turnedtrafficker Don Ford; the patrician Ochoa brothers of the Medellín cartel; and the cocaine mega-entrepreneur George Jung (profiled in the movie Blow).
In addition to illustrating the complex social origins of border traffickers, the Anarchist’s account represents the existential quest of a troubled youth seeking transcendence. His vivid account begins in an affluent but abusive household, caught “between a sea of poor, uneducated Mexicans and the intellectual university culture.” The Anarchist’s parents were educators: his father a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and his mother a teacher at various public and private schools. Kern Place, the residential district he grew up in, is located within walking distance of the UTEP campus.