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America’s Multimillion Dollar DEA Bounties Just for Drug Lords

The search for informants has its own Powerball, but you can’t win if you don’t snitch.

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Convicted drug kingpin Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez, center, in the custody of Colombian soldiers in 2007.

Convicted drug kingpin Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez, center, in the custody of Colombian soldiers in 2007.

Photographer: Mauricio Duenas/AFP via Getty Images

Wheeling gold-colored Samsonite suitcases stuffed with $100 bills, two undercover agents for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration walked into a Mexico City hotel room.

Minutes later, a low-level drug trafficker knocked. The agents watched as he removed $10,000 bundles from the cases, placing them one by one on the bed. The mound of money, $2 million in all, eventually spread across the mattress. When he was done, the man signed a receipt, gathered up his cash, and was gone.