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How to Get Away with Murder in America: Drug Lords, Dirty Pols, Obsessed Cops, and the Quiet Man Who Became the CIA's Master Killer (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Evan Wright
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is a story that the CIA will not want you to read. It will likely shake your faith in the highest levels of America’s national security establishment. And it will leave you feeling as if you are living not in the United States but in a seedy banana republic where there is no line between the good guys and the bad guys.

In “How to Get Away with Murder in America,” the celebrated journalist Evan Wright reveals the extraordinary story of Enrique “Ricky” Prado, an alleged killer for a major Miami drug trafficker who was recruited into the CIA. Despite a grand jury subpoena and a mountain of evidence unearthed by a federal task force, Prado was promoted into the agency’s highest echelons and charged with implementing some of the country’s most sensitive post-9/11 counterterrorist operations, including the agency’s secret “targeted assassination unit.” All while staying in close touch with his cocaine-trafficking boss and, evidence suggests, taking part in additional killings for him.

After Prado retired in 2004 at the rank of SIS-2—the CIA equivalent of a two-star general—he moved to a senior position at Blackwater, the private military contractor, where he continued to run the same, now-outsourced “death squad.” Contrary to government assurances that it was never actually activated, Wright reveals explosive testimony from one of the Blackwater assassins that Prado’s unit was indeed carrying out assigned killings. As a former military intelligence officer told Wright in 2011, “Private contractors are whacking people like crazy over in Afghanistan for the CIA.”

In “How to Get Away with Murder in America,” Wright discloses never-before-seen federal investigation files and lays out a mind-boggling and ultimately damning indictment of Ricky Prado and the intelligence community that embraced and empowered him. It is the deeply disturbing story of a criminal case abandoned because of CIA intervention, political maneuvering, and possibly corruption. Its cast includes Mafia capos, former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former CNN host Rick Sanchez, and Prado’s longtime boss at the CIA and then Blackwater, J. Cofer Black, who is now a “special adviser” to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Wright also delivers a stunning portrait of Prado’s childhood friend Albert San Pedro, a.k.a. “the Maniac,” the drug lord whom he served for years as loyal bodyguard and enforcer, as well as their longtime nemesis Mike Fisten, the detective who began pursuing them more than two decades ago and still hopes to put them both in prison for murder.

There are many conspiracies in Wright’s story, all of them unsettling. Did the CIA knowingly hire a suspected murderer with strong ties to drug traffickers? Or was the agency a stooge, infiltrated by an underworld hood described by one investigator as “technically, a serial killer”?

“How to Get Away with Murder in America” is likely to have serious repercussions for the U.S. national security establishment. And it will shake to the core your conceptions of government and justice in America.


Evan Wright is the recipient of two National Magazine Awards and the author of the bestselling “Generation Kill,” “Hella Nation,” and “American Desperado,” which he co-wrote with Jon Roberts. His reporting has also been included in “The Best American Crime Writing.” He co-wrote the HBO series “Generation Kill,” based on his book.

Editorial Reviews Review

When best-selling author Evan Wright began digging into the hard-to-believe life story of Enrique "Ricky" Prado--a former Miami thug who became a top CIA official--he was told to stay away or risk getting "whacked." One investigator warned, "You don't want to f--- with this guy." Wright first learned about Prado while researching American Desperado, his shockingly good book about drug trafficker Jon Roberts. At first, he refused to believe that an alleged hitman and bodyguard for a mobster could become a CIA informant and eventually rise to the top echelons of the U.S. national security and intelligence systems. In this riveting account, Wright says the "two halves of Prado's life...made no sense." But through dozens of interviews and thousands of documents, Wright tries to make sense of them. The result is a story of two fiercely loyal Cuban-American childhood pals--Prado and his former cocaine-running boss, Albert "the Maniac" San Pedro--whose kinship lasted throughout Prado's CIA career. Even as Prado rose to the CIA equivalent of a two-star general, he helped San Pedro with numerous deadly deeds. This is investigative journalism at its best—brave, meticulous, and significant. --Neal Thompson

From AudioFile

Product Details

  • File Size: 727 KB
  • Print Length: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Byliner Inc. (June 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EJL43Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime, No Punishment July 2, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author of Generation Kill and American Desperado delivers a tour-de-force of investigative journalism detailing the tangled web that connects those who break laws with those who enforce them. What begins as an investigation into a decades-old mob hit in Cocaine-Cowboy-era Miami and a portrait of your typical Scarface-type drug baron - the fascinatingly unhinged Albert San Pedro - quickly turns into a takedown of the CIA, federal and state officials, and even the infamous private security contractor Blackwater. Lurking in the shadows behind it all is Ricky Prado, a childhood friend turned enforcer in Albert San Pedro's drug empire who somehow ended up in the ranks of the CIA while maintaining his underworld connections. Wright follows Prado's trail from his apparent involvement in the Bay of Pigs to the post-9/11 era and his time working in the upper echelon of Blackwater, all while committing murders and other atrocities for both his criminal associates and the United States government - avoiding prosecution all the while. This brilliantly put together piece shows that all it takes to get away with murder in America is to kill for the right people. Reading it will change everything you think you know about the relationship between law enforcement and organized crime.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth is stranger than fiction July 2, 2012
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Wow this really reads like a fast paced crime thriller but at the same time seems to be very well documented. Even Wright and his publisher appear to be unconcerned about defamation lawsuits so I'm guessing they really did their homework. The CIA was probable able to make very good use of a drug gangster sociopath during the Iran-Contra program and a brutal homicidal thug would have been very handy to have around when VP Cheney and Coffer Black decided to "take the gloves off" for the GWOT. Sadly for America's reputation the end always seems to justify the means. Too bad there will never be any investigations to back up Even Wright's claims as official Obama Administration policy for these types of matters is to always look forward never backward and unofficial MSM policy is to avoid digging into government secretes that have not been leaked and approved by official sources. Even as I write this review this story is already half way down the memory hole.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Read June 30, 2012
By Athena
Format:Kindle Edition
Downloaded after I saw the Tweets about it. I expected to read this over the next week. Devoured it all in one sitting. The Tweet I saw linked to a London news article saying Wright "claimed" a CIA agent is a killer. He makes no such claims. Instead, he presents compelling evidence from a variety of sources--including FBI reports--that build this case. It's an unbelievable read, a murder mystery that turns into a story about the CIA and Blackwater. Like other reviewers said, this reads like a thriller. I think my favorite part is the hero of the piece, the Jewish Miami Police detective "with Irish cop's blood." I've read Wright's other reporting, and thank God he can bring a sense of humor to his subjects.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking June 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
A read that will shock you on many levels. The story itself-a drug lord recruited by the CIA, criminal-including murder-investigations purposefully ignored, politicians giving favors to criminals to gain or retain office. The fact that one operative had is shocking-he was possibly tied to the government failing to stop 9/11 and the new era of hiring mercenaries (like Blackwater) to fight our wars for us. It's shocking also how well-reported a piece of writing this seems, how thorough, and yet Wright does a fabulous job of making it nonetheless easy to follow. If I lived in Miami, especially, I'd be incensed, reading this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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This was the read of the summer for me. It kind of connects where the documentary "Cocaine Cowboys" stops. It is a true page-turner and I finished it in about three evenings. Highly recommended for a long flight.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miami Mayhem June 28, 2012
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Cross Al Pacino's Scarface with a Robert Ludlum novel and you still wouldn't have a story as jaw-dropping as this. Wright's tale of the alleged Miami underworld hit man who infiltrated the highest levels of the CIA is a phenomenal piece of reporting and storytelling, featuring characters as diverse as Cofer Black, Janet Reno, former Bay of Pigs guerrillas, and Meyer Lansky's stepson. This is an explosive story that names names and uncovers lots of government hijinks. You'll swear you're reading a novel, but, sadly and shockingly, it's all true.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I nominate this story for a Pulitzer June 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
If there's any justice, Evan Wright's How to Get Away with Murder in America will launch congressional investigations, throw corrupt politicians out of office, and win him a Pulitzer Prize (and a safe house where he can hide from the CIA AND Miami drug kingpins). His story reads like a tragicomic movie written by the Coen brothers--but it happens to be true! A hit man for a Miami drug dealer rises to the top levels of the CIA! You've got to be kidding, right? Wright's not joking, however--or if he is, the joke's on all of us. This is a fantastically well-reported piece that will leave a reader as paranoid as the unfortunate citizen of some two-bit dictatorship. Only this story takes place in America where we're not supposed to feel that way.
Time to give Evan Wright a prize--and a bullet-proof vest!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Read August 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The research the author did is staggering - the process must have been dangerous. This is the kind of story that MUST get out and MUST be talked about.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Primer on Florida Politics
Excellent primer on Florida and national politics - seems unfortunate this work didn't get more publicity
Published 3 months ago by Marc Brandl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Everything Evan Wright writes turns to gold. He is one of the most interesting writers out there.
Published 3 months ago by Michael Botur
4.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoyed American Desperado
If you enjoyed American Desperado: My Life--From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset & Cocaine Cowboys you'll really enjoy this book.
Published 7 months ago by Samuel Newstadt
5.0 out of 5 stars You've got to read this!
Great read. Life sure is stranger than fiction - especially in South Florida
Published 8 months ago by Joe Vredevelt
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry read
Not one of my more Favorite reads but was somewhat interesting
Published 9 months ago by Steve Banks
5.0 out of 5 stars Its a great book that illustrates how some individuals
This book was outstanding. The title captures it all. Its a great book that illustrates how some individuals, regardless of their background and affiliation are able to make it... Read more
Published 10 months ago by joshua c. mathes
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good on the inside of how the C
Very good on the inside of how the C.I A works . A scary look at how they work both ways.
Published 10 months ago by Larry
3.0 out of 5 stars very interesting read
This book brings a lot of the unknown to
light about the government and crime.It also show a great deal of detail in just how crazy things are in the judicial system
Published 14 months ago by Tom LaCroix
5.0 out of 5 stars Corrupt government
A lot of work was carried out to research this story. This is the book for you if you like to read about conspiracies involving the government.
Published 17 months ago by Robert Jensen
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Topic From this Discussion
CIA and Crime: Does It Matter?
I think the book must have been very thoroughly researched and documented or it would not have passed muster with the publishers legal department. The footnotes take up almost as many pages as the rest of the book. Looking back at the 80's we have to remember that the Reagan Administration... Read More
Jul 7, 2012 by Mark L. Swisshelm |  See all 3 posts
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