• Watch the trailer for TRAFFICKED WITH MARIANA VAN ZELLER


    Written by Jesus Figueroa
    @ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

    Watch this trailer for National Geographic’s “Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller,” an investigative journalism series as only National Geographic’s has access to, the eight-part mini series premiering with a two-episode premiere on December 2 at 9/8 C.

    In a special two-hour episode, Mariana uncovers a lethal supply chain of American firearms being smuggled into the hands of drug cartels and fueling record levels of gun violence in Mexico. A journey filled with jaw-dropping access to gunrunners, mules, cartel bosses and assassins takes an even more terrifying turn when the son of the world’s most notorious drug lord, El Chapo Guzman, is arrested and the cartel that Mariana infiltrates decides to violently revolt. 
    “I couldn’t be more excited to share Trafficked with viewers around the world,” said Mariana van Zeller, who has spent the better part of the last 15 years reporting on the global underworld. “People don’t realize that black markets are all around us, hidden in plain sight. And what fascinates me most is how normal, law-abiding people — people like you and me — get pulled into these criminal worlds.”
    Armed with National Geographic’s trademark inside access, Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller takes viewers on a journey inside the most dangerous black markets on the planet. Each investigation in the eight-part series embeds with Peabody and duPont Award-winning journalist Mariana van Zeller as she explores the complex and often violent inner workings of a smuggling network. While she dives deeper and deeper into these underworlds, Mariana reveals  with characteristic boldness and empathy  that the people operating these trafficking rings are often a lot more like us than we realize.

    Additional episode topics include:
     
    SCAMS
    Mariana dives into the world of international scamming to understand how it all works and meet the outlaws at the heart of this booming industry. Her investigation takes her from the streets of Montego Bay to the glitzy neighborhoods of Tel Aviv as she pursues some of the biggest phone, lottery and financial scammers in the world and learns why Americans are the perfect targets.

    FENTANYL
    Fentanyl has turbocharged the deadliest drug crisis in American history. But less understood is how the drug has utterly transformed the black market. Mariana goes in search of the new bosses, new routes, new risks and the American communities paying the price for fentanyl’s next wave. 
     
    TIGERS
    Mariana tackles what one of her sources calls “the untouchable smuggling story.” The black market for tigers and tiger parts is so lucrative, so secretive and so dangerous that few have attempted to uncover its ugly details. Mariana journeys far, and near, to meet the smugglers face-to-face. 
     
    STEROIDS
    In the age of social media, the demand for illegal steroids is booming. Mariana searches out producers and users in an attempt to understand the vanity, insecurity and greed that’s driving this dangerously unregulated, billion-dollar black market in body-enhancing drugs. 
     
    MONEY RUNNERS
    Mariana journeys deep inside the Peruvian underworld to meet the gangster craftsmen who make and sell the worlds finest counterfeit U.S. dollars. Along the way, she learns that many of these counterfeiting operations are run by criminal families in Lima, who are making a fortune despite the anti-counterfeiting efforts of the U.S. Secret Service and the Peruvian National Police. 
     
    PIMPS
    In an eye-opening journey through her home state of California, Mariana embeds with pimps, victims, undercover cops and private investigators to understand the ugly business of illicit sex in America. How do pimps recruit? How do they think? Where do they get their power? And just how far will they go to grab their share of this billion-dollar black market?  
     
    COCAINE
    Mariana retraces one of the worlds most intractable smuggling routes, following cocaine’s path from a remote Peruvian valley through Colombias Caribbean coast, all the way to the streets of Miami. Despite the decades-long U.S.
    War on Drugs, cocaine production is at an all-time high, and Mariana meets some of the makers, smugglers, drivers and teenage backpackers who risk their lives to deliver America’s favorite party drug. 

    Sinaloa, Mexico - Mariana van Zeller, center, with sicarios, or hitmen, who are members of the Sinaloa Cartel. (Credit: National Geographic/Muck Media)
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