Javier Peña, as a character, was popularized through the Netflix series ’Narcos.’ But the story of the real Peña—who lives in San Antonio—and his quest to end the reign of Pablo Escobar is bigger than a screen. Peña’s life, or death, was particularly valuable to Escobar—fear of the U.S. government made DEA agents a tough mark for hitmen.
In Search Of Russia’s Lost Gold
Before World War I, Russia possessed the third-largest gold reserve in the world, bested only by the US and France. During the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks captured the entirety of Tsar Nicholas II’s family gold reserve – or so they thought.
I Fled Yugoslavia In 1941. Then I Returned to Join the Resistance.
After the Germans consolidated in northwestern Yugoslavia, I left New York for London, crushed by the news of what was going on. I told my parents I was returning to Yugoslavia to become a freedom fighter.
The Case Of The Empty Frames Remains Art World’s Biggest Mystery
What happened at the Gardner Museum has become the most famous art heist ever, not only because of the money involved—$500 million, making it the largest art theft in history—but also because of the countless FBI agents, private detectives and art dealers who’ve tried and failed to solve it.
Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual For Cops
Palantir is one of the most significant and secretive companies in big data analysis. The company acts as an information management service for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, corporations like JP Morgan and Airbus, and dozens of other local, state, and federal agencies.
The Rise And Fall Of Marty Tirrell
From central Iowa radio pioneer to alleged scam artist. Money didn’t always belong to Tirrell, according to numerous court judgments against him. He defrauded eight people out of $1.5 million.
When Does An Accident Become A Crime?
While driving through a dangerous curve in East Texas, James Fulton crossed into oncoming traffic and killed a young woman. The cops said the crash was an accident. But the Smith County DA saw it differently.
The Ancient Tombs Kept Under Lock And Key
A sense of mystery surrounds the keyhole-shaped kofun tombs in Japan. Although the iconic Mozu Tombs in Sakai city, Osaka have recently been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, surprisingly little is actually known about these intriguing monuments, kept under lock and key by the Japanese government.
Who Owns South Africa?
The Glen Grey Act was the first piece of legislation to enshrine in law the residential separation of the races. It was also the basis for the notorious Natives Land Act of 1913, which in its final form allocated a mere thirteen percent of all arable land to the black majority.
The Most Loved And Hated Classic Novels According To Goodreads Users
Reading classic literature is like going for a 6am jog. It has its loyal fans but few enjoy it. Curious to learn about what classics people actually enjoy, Daniel Frank delved into the Goodreads data to find what classics users love and hate the most.
‘The Intelligence Coup Of The Century’
For more than half a century, governments all over the world trusted a single company, Crypto AG, to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret. But what none of its customers ever knew was that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA.
Merry Across The Mersey: Tom Wood’s Visions Of Liverpool
Known affectionately as the ‘photie man’ across Merseyside, Tom Wood worked in the region at a time of great social and political change. From buzzing match days at Anfield to couples snogging during nights out on the Wirral, a new retrospective of his work highlights his bond with the city.
The True Toll Of The Chernobyl Disaster
On 26 April 1986 reactor number four at the power plant suffered a catastrophic explosion that exposed the core and threw clouds of radioactive material over the surrounding. Covered up by a secretive Soviet Union at the time, the true number of deaths and illnesses caused by the nuclear accident are only now becoming clear.
One Last Job: The Unlikely Story Behind The Hatton Garden Heist
The Hatton Garden Heist is one of the highest value burglaries ever to have taken place in Britain. The plot reads like a Hollywood movie and involved millions of pounds of diamonds and a group of ageing villains.
Operation Encore And The Saudi Connection: A Secret History Of The 9/11 Investigation
Behind the scenes, a small team of FBI agents spent years trying to solve a stubborn mystery — whether officials from Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s closest allies, were involved in the worst terror attack in U.S. history. This is their story.
Hiroshima, The Stories Of Six Survivors Of The Atomic Bomb
A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so many others died. Each of them counts many small items of chance or volition that spared him.
Pleas Of Insanity: The Mysterious Case Of Anthony Montwheeler
If Anthony Montwheeler does suffer from a mental illness, one that caused him to become extremely violent, how were the hospital staff and the review board so easily fooled? And, if he does not, why, a month after winning release, did he commit a senseless murder in the full view of multiple witnesses?
Henry Lee Lucas Was Considered America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. But He Was Really a Serial Liar.
Henry Lee Lucas provided accounts that closed 197 murder cases, but now, a new five-part Netflix series is exploring the still-mounting evidence that almost all of these confessions were lies—and that hundreds of actual murderers have gone free.
The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist
The skilled climber and thief Vjeran Tomic, whom the French press referred to as Spider-Man, has described robbery as an act of imagination. He was driven partly by aesthetic desire. “Certain paintings can provoke me like an emotional shock,” he said.
‘Astounding New Finds’ Suggest Ancient Empire May Be Hiding In Plain Sight
Evidence from Maya writing and art suggests Teotihuacan conquered Tikal outright, adding it to what some archaeologists see as a sweeping empire that may have included several Maya cities. Teotihuacan may have turned against Maya expatriates who had lived there peacefully for decades.
Mikhail Gorbachev’s Pizza Hut Thanksgiving Miracle
Since his involuntary retirement, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has raised money for worthy causes, attempted to make a comeback in Russian politics, and, notoriously, made an advertisement for Pizza Hut.