Marijuana Legalization: Mary Cuddehe's New Book 'Agent Zapata' Takes on America's Changing Drug Culture

This November, Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use, becoming the first and only states to completely legalize the substance.

In February of last year, there was also a first. The death of agent Jaime Zapata — the first time in over 25 years that an American federal agent has died "in the line of duty."

Zapata was killed by Mexico’s largest and most gruesome drug cartel, Los Zetas, while driving with his partner through central Mexico.

New York journalist Mary Cuddehe covers the murder in her newly released e-book, Agent Zapata. What began as a simple shooting quickly escalated when it was discovered that the guns used to kill agent Zapata were American and possibly trafficked through the U.S. as part of the ill-conceived “Fast and Furious” program.

The operation sold tagged guns to smugglers in the hopes of following them up the drug cartel chain. Unfortunately, our government lost them. Instead of leading law enforcement to the cartel leaders, hundreds of firearms were put in the hands of violent criminals.

The U.S. government has a lot of blood on its hands when it comes to restricting marijuana. Cuddehe’s book takes a detailed look at these well intentioned, yet fatally flawed initiatives, and how they may have led to Zapata’s death.

With legalization beginning to emerge as a potential solution to drug violence, it may get worse before it gets better. For anyone interested in how the current situation in Mexico stands, Agent Zapata is an excellent primer.