Costa Del Narcos: Stacey Dooley’s drug war documentary is a must-watch

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In this documentary, Stacey Dooley explores Spain’s drugs trade, gaining unique access to the police, the dealers and the smugglers who are all at war.

It’s a lockdown, which means we’re watching a lot of telly at the moment. Like, a lot of telly. Still, if you’ve watched every single true crime docuseries going on Netflix, Amazon Prime and traditional TV, don’t worry: Stacey Dooley is returning to our television screens with a gripping new documentary.

And we can’t wait.

As we’ve undoubtedly mentioned before, on multiple occasions, Dooley is one of our favourite documentarians. To date, we’ve seen her confront paedophiles in Tokyo, come face-to-face with members of Isis in Iraq, talk to underage sex slaves in Cambodia, and investigate the extreme pressures being placed on the NHS’ mental health services.

Now, in this gripping new documentary, Dooley lifts the curtain on Spain’s unparalleled organised drugs trade, gaining unique access to the police, the dealers and the smugglers who are all at war.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about Stacey Dooley: Costa Del Narcos.

What is Stacey Dooley: Costa Del Narcos about?

Southern Spain might be famous for its beaches, tapas, sunshine, and swarms of British tourists, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Because, as Dooley explains in her new documentary, it has become the main gateway for drugs into Europe.

That’s right: nowadays, powerful drug cartels are not just confined to Colombia (despite what Netflix’s Narcos might have you believe). Instead, they are operating at large – and Spain is one of the most popular routes for smuggling cocaine, hashish and other Class A drugs onto the continent.

It’s a situation that has been steadily spiralling for some time. Indeed, violent turf wars between drug gangs have caused the Spanish government to issue a crackdown and, for the last two years, the police have been fighting to take back control. But is this a war they can ever truly hope to win?

Who does Stacey Dooley talk to in Costa Del Narcos?

Dooley goes out on patrol with the air force team of the Guardia Civil (Spain’s police force) over the strip of water between Morocco and Spain, a popular and lucrative smuggling entry point.

She meets an undercover police officer who organises raids to recover weapons from drug lords, often seizing military grade guns. She’s invited along by the Guardia Civil to witness a night-time raid, an attempt to arrest a cartel suspect they have been watching for two years.

Dooley doesn’t just speak to the long arm of the law, however. During a visit to La Linea, she reaches out to locals, too, and learns that many turned to drug smuggling after the financial crisis and economic downturn in 2012. Indeed, one resident even informs her that the “ghost town” is driven by drug trafficking because there are no other opportunities for its people.

Elsewhere, in a wealthier part of the region, she is granted access to one of the mafia’s biggest bosses to learn more about the drug supply chain, not to mention how the illegal operation is run behind closed doors.

And, in a bid to understand why this part of Spain sees so much cocaine, Stacey travels to the source: Apartado, Colombia. There she meets one of the biggest smugglers in the region to understand the export business, how it operates, and ultimately, how the cocaine will end up flooding Europe, including London – where half a million doses are consumed every single day.

How long is Stacey Dooley: Costa Del Narcos?

This documentary from Dooley is a one-hour special for BBC Two.

When is Stacey Dooley: Costa Del Narcos on TV?

The episode will air at 9pm on Sunday 26 April.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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