How An Air Hostess Took Down South America’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel

by : UNILAD on : 14 Mar 2017 17:45

Bringing down a drugs cartel isn’t exactly an easy task – or one on your daily ‘to-do’ list – but that didn’t stop one courageous air hostess…


Columbian Pilar – who is only known by her first name – was working for Braniff Airways, when she fell in love with one of South America’s most dangerous Cartel leaders.

While working for the airline, Pilar met Ernesto, who won her over with jewellery, gifts and exotic trips funded by his illegally earned drug money.

Oblivious to his involvement with the shady cocaine trade, she married her lavish lover, but it quickly became apparent he was a druglord in the Cali Cartel.


Instead of shying away from this frightening realisation, Pilar used her position as Ernesto’s wife and an air stewardess to plunge right into the centre of the dark and dangerous world of drug dealing.

Initially, Pilar helped to boost the profits of the multi-billion dollar drugs ring – who controlled 90 per cent of the global cocaine market in the 1970s.

After accusing Ernesto of inflicting horrific domestic violence upon her, she left and remarried another highly sought after drug dealer, Steve Cinnante in 1985.

Cinnante was arrested shortly after the wedding and Pilar decided she no longer wanted any involvement in the seedy drugs world, opting for a quieter life away from all the previous turmoil.


Her dream lifestyle was short-lived though, as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) came knocking and demanded she help them dismantle the notorious cartel.

Bruce Porter, author of the book Snatched, which delves into Pilar’s turbulent life, told the Daily Star Online how Pilar played a fundamental role in the dissolving of the drugs ring.

He said:


The DEA came knocking at her door, threatening to indict her if she wouldn’t help them infiltrate the money laundering business.

She was a great success, resulting in the seizure of millions and millions of dollars and the indictment of hundreds of traffickers.

Snatched/Bruce Porter/Amazon

The risky sting – codenamed Operation Princess  – involved targeting her ex-husband Ernesto and his involvement and contacts with the cartel.

Part of the plan involved Pilar posing as a money launderer and even resulted in her being kidnapped.

Bruce explained:

For her participation she got kidnapped by guerrillas, because down in Colombia she was posing as a rich money launderer.


The director behind the documentary Wildlands, Colin Offland, was lucky enough to speak to Pilar while out filming in Columbia.

He told the Daily Star Online:

She spent 100 days in the Colombian jungle held up by the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] as a hostage and how she got out of that is an incredible story.

She brought down the Cali Cartel through her ‘revenge’.

Check out the trailer for Wildlands:


What an incredible story and an incredibly brave woman to play such an instrumental part in the dismantling of the extremely dangerous Cali Cartel.

Bruce Porter’s book, Snatched: From Drug Queen to Informer to Hostage – a Harrowing True Story, is available on Amazon.

Topics: News, Drugs


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