Worldwide production of illicit opium, coca leaf and cannabis is many times the amount currently consumed by drug abusers. Some governments do not have control of the narcotics growing regions, and prospects in several countries are dampened by corruption, even government involvement in the narcotics trade. –From the U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, February 1985. The compound, hidden deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle, 400 miles southeast of the Colombian capital of Bogota, was called Tranquilandia . Amid a hail of gunfire, 40 Colombian policemen in two helicopters and a small plane touched down on its clandestine airstrip. What they found was a busy, self-contained complex devoted entirely to the production of cocaine. Tranquilandia included a dormitory large enough to sleep 80 or more, and a dining area complete with dishwasher and refrigerator. Its bathrooms were furnished with showers and orange-and-white flush toilets made of Italian ceramic. Among its more luxurious appointments were a Betamax video recorder, a microwave oven and a library of pornographic magazines. According to the community’s records, fresh supplies of chickens and pigs were flown in daily; the settlement’s payroll took care of as many as 1,000 employees, including electricians and plumbers, waiters and cooks. Several hundred yards north of the compound’s 3,500-ft. runway, the police came upon 19 separate laboratories used for the processing and refinement of cocaine. Before the raid, officials had estimated that Colombia’s annual production of the drug was perhaps 50 tons; Tranquilandia alone, however, could process about 300 tons a year. The police arrested 40 workers and seized almost 14 tons of pure cocaine. Then they poured all $1.2 billion worth of the powder into the nearby Yari River, turning its waters white. Immediately after that operation last year, death threats fell down upon Colombia’s Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who had been leading a lone crusade against his country’s bustling $5 billion-a-year cocaine trade. Less than two months later, in the streets of Bogota, two young hit men on a red Yamaha motorcycle pulled up alongside Lara’s white Mercedes-Benz and pumped seven bullets into the 38-year-old minister. The killing electrified Colombia and enraged its government. “We’ve had enough,” said President Belisario Betancur Cuartas, trembling with anger during his elegy to the slain minister. With that, Betancur declared a “war without quarter” on Colombia’s kings of cocaine. The struggle has hardly abated in the nine months since. In fact, it has slowly engulfed much of South America, and brought the U.S. increasingly into the fray. In Colombia, U.S. subsidies have spurred antinarcotics agents into pursuing the drug mafiosos, as they are referred to by Colombian newspapers, with some success. The first four Colombians ever to be extradited to the U.S. appeared in Miami and Washington courts last month. In Peru and Bolivia, however, the U.S. has been largely defeated in its fight to stamp out the coca plant* where it is grown.