If the drug war can start involving the Tarahumara, then no one is immune.
—Don Morrison, a borderlands attorney with a Tarahumara client in prison.
When I returned to the Copper Canyons in 2006 for Caballo’s race, I was heartsick to discover that Manuel Luna’s son — a kind and wonderfully talented young man who was barely a teenager — had been beaten to death by drug cartel thugs. Since then, according to this remarkable story by Newsweek‘s Aram Rostom, the situation has become even more dire. The drought, plus the loss of farmland to the cartels and strip-loggers and very little knowledge of the outside world, makes the Tarahumara easy prey for cartel recruiters. As Rostom reports:
According to defense lawyers, law-enforcement sources, and some Tarahumara Indians, drug traffickers are now exploiting the very Tarahumara trait—endurance—that has been crucial to their survival.