Gary Stephen Webb (August 31, 1955 — December 10, 2004) was a Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist. Webb was best known for his 1996 “Dark Alliance” series of articles written for the San Jose Mercury News and later published as a book. In the three-part series, Webb investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. Their smuggled cocaine was distributed as crack cocaine in Los Angeles, with the profits funneled back to the Contras. Webb also alleged that this influx of Nicaraguan-supplied cocaine sparked, and significantly fueled, the widespread crack cocaine epidemic that swept through many U.S. cities during the 1980s. According to Webb, the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by Contra personnel. Webb charged that the Reagan administration shielded inner-city drug dealers from prosecution in order to raise money for the Contras, especially after Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which prohibited direct Contra funding.
“After spending three years of my life looking into this, I am more convinced than ever that the U.S. government’s responsibility for the drug problems in South Central Los Angeles and other inner cities is greater than I ever wrote in the newspaper.” -Gary Webb
The new film “Kill the Messenger” tells the story of Gary Webb, one of the most maligned figures in investigative journalism.