March 16, 2023
Mike Vigil grew up in Espanola and was an undercover DEA agent in Colombia and Mexico infiltrating Pablo Escobar and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s drug cartels.
He was the former Chief of International Operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, one of the most highly decorated agents within the agency and responsible for numerous multinational operations, the largest involved 36 countries. Vigil was made an honorary General by the government of Afghanistan and given the key to the city of Shanghai by China. He was given an Admiral’s sword by the former president of the Dominican Republic, Hipolito Mejia. He was also responsible for developing global intelligence sharing platforms.
After graduating from New Mexico State University, he joined the DEA academy in Washington, D.C., in 1973 at the age of 22.
For most of his 31 year career, his job was to infiltrate Latin America’s drug cartels, posing as a Mexican drug trafficker. During his time with the agency, Mike Vigil never told his Española family about his dangerous work. But in a 370-page autobiography titled DEAL, he described some of his riskiest missions. In addition to DEAL, he has written Metal Coffins: The Blood Alliance Cartel, Narco Queen, and The Land of Enchantment Cartel.
In the 1980s, he said that he sat next to Colombia’s drug kingpin Pablo Escobar at soccer games. “The reason I wrote the book is to leave a legacy behind for my family,” Vigil said. “It’s also, secondarily, an education tool for people to see what the drug trade is really all about.”
DEAL starts with an anecdote of an undercover operation in the Mexican state of Sonora in the 1970s, when Vigil went undercover to meet two drug traffickers who worked for Guadalajara cartel leader Rafael Caro Quintero. In 1985, Quintero tortured and killed a DEA agent. As Vigil waited to exchange his fake money with the traffickers for three tons of marijuana, a Mexican federal agent with him got impatient, pointed his gun at one of the drug traffickers, blowing Vigil’s cover. “The trafficker shot [the agent] twice in the head, and I remember seeing a spray of blood coming out of his head,” Vigil recalled. The drug trafficker also shot at Vigil twice, but he missed. And so it went throughout his incredible and risky career south of the border.
Registration: This SFWAF lunch is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. To register you may either pay by check made out to SFWAF and mailed to the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum, PO Box 31965, Santa Fe, NM 87594 or by credit card through Paypal. Please indicate on your check – or if using Paypal (“add special instructions to the seller”) that your payment is for the Thursday March 16, 2023 program: https://sfwaf.org/payment/
Members: if you have not yet paid your 2022-23 membership dues, you may include the $50 per person annual dues in your payment for this program, but please also note in special instructions that dues are included. Because we are a 501(c)(3) organization, dues and contributions are tax deductible.
If you are not a member, please include your best contact information. If you are interested in membership, please email us: email@example.com.
Payment for this program is nonrefundable after Friday, March 10. We strongly prefer that payment be made by Paypal or check postmarked by Friday March 10, 2023 to facilitate check-in. If you are mailing a check please also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be sure we know you plan to attend.
SFCC Board Room (#223) is in the West Wing (Administration Building). The college is located at 6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87508. Enter through the building’s main entrance (on the left side of the building behind the flag poles). The Board Room is on the corridor to the left of the Campus Center.
From Rodeo Road turn south onto Richards Avenue. Turn into the campus main drive. Parking lots are in front of the building. From I-25 take the Cerrillos Road exit, turn east onto Governor Miles Road and then right onto Richards Avenue. Then follow directions above.
The SFWAF program is from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm.
Cost for the SFWAF lunch event is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers.
Registration: This SFWAF lunch is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. You may pay by check made out to SFWAF and mailed to The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum, Santa Fe, PO Box 31965, NM 87594 or with a credit card using our Paypal account. Please indicate on your check or if using Paypal please note in “add special instructions to the seller” that your payment is for the Thursday March 16, 2023 program. If you are not a member please also include your best contact information. If you are interested in membership, please email us.
Payment for this program is non-refundable after Friday, March 10, 2023 if you are unable to attend. We strongly prefer that payment be made by Paypal or check postmarked by Friday, March 10, 2023 at the latest to facilitate check in. It is also very helpful if you are sending a check to email us at email@example.com to let us know you plan to attend.
If you are not a member but interested in membership, please see our membership page and email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Because we are a 501(c)(3) organization, dues and contributions are tax deductible.
For pricing and reservations, click here: https://sfwaf.org/payment/