Alchemy of Violence: Narcos, Reapers and Survival

Alchemy of Violence: Narcos, Reapers and Survival

In this multi-part podcast, "Alchemy of Violence: Narcos, Reapers and Survival," host and Marine Staff Sgt. Johnny Joey Jones will guide you through a series of wide-ranging interviews with Ed Calderon, a former paramilitary law enforcement officer from Mexico who took on the country's ruthless drug cartels face-to-face at a time when their gruesome violence was reaching a fever pitch in 2006 and beyond. Calderon’s dangerous career south of the border, and the rampant corruption he says came with it, ultimately forced him to run for his life. It also left him with a lifetime's worth of on-the-ground experience, and a set of unique survival skills akin to a real-life McGuyver, just a few years shy of his 40th birthday. In his own words, Calderon shares intimate details on everything from his childhood and family inspiration, to the horrors he witnessed firsthand in his career, and how he’s using those experiences now to help others who might be recovering from similar traumas –a new career in what he calls his "after-life."

Episodes

June 28, 2021 2 min
In this multi-part podcast, “Alchemy of Violence: Narcos, Reapers and Survival,” host and Marine Staff Sgt. Johnny Joey Jones will guide you through a series of wide-ranging interviews with Ed Calderon, a former paramilitary law enforcement officer from Mexico who took on the country's ruthless drug cartels face-to-face at a time when their gruesome violence was reaching a fever pitch in 2006 and beyond. Calderon’s dangerous ca...

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Meet Ed Calderon, a former paramilitary law enforcement officer from Mexico who acquired a set of unique survival skills over a career confronting drug cartels that makes even some special operators nervous, and maybe even a little jealous. Those skills don’t just come from a career confronting drug cartels face to face, but an inspirational mother and a childhood that may have foreshadowed the evil he would come to face later in l...

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July 9, 2021 36 min
A bribe or death. Silver or lead. The evil Ed faced in his career was nothing, and everything, that he knew it would be going into it.

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July 10, 2021 29 min
Ed forges the Sneak Reaper mindset, whether he knows it at the time or not, with a little inspiration from “Santa Muerte,” aka “the Holy Death.” An origin story like you’ve never heard before.

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July 11, 2021 36 min
Ed runs for his life, literally, when his new bosses ask him to start targeting one cartel and ignoring the others. He also discusses the gruesome killings of some American women and children in the Mexican desert, and why he thinks those killings should have changed the discussion about Mexico’s cartels forever.

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Ed Calderon is perhaps best-known for his escape skills; picking locks, getting out of handcuffs, discretely carrying the tools needed to do so and generally being able to break free from a variety of life-threatening situations. And his first teacher was a 15-year-old criminal named Fernando. 

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Ed uses the skills he acquired working anti-abduction details for Mexican government officials to helptrain others who face the threat of violence or kidnappings in everyday life. And for some of Ed’s students,their training with him comes after they’ve already experienced true violence.

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Ed is an impressive guy to some special operators, but he says the people who have wound up impressing him the most are typically ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. And some of his students have wound up teaching him things.

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July 15, 2021 26 min
Change is one of the few constants for Ed Calderon, and moving too fast can sometimes result in important stories of heroism being forgotten, and tales of true evil being spun into something else. Plus, his take on the infamous meeting between drug kingpin “el Chapo” and a Hollywood celebrity, and the connection he sees to the story of slain DEA Agent Kiki Camarena. 

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July 16, 2021 19 min
Ed says saving your life, and the lives of others, can often come down to having things on your person that are small enough to fit in your pocket. Find out what those things are, and what Ed’s mother has to do with his skills with a knife (among other things).

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July 17, 2021 31 min
After years of trauma, even someone with the mindset of a Sneak Reaper needs a hand on their journey to recovery. That was certainly true for Ed, but his initial experiences with prescription drugs for some of his problems seemed to only make things worse.

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July 18, 2021 44 min
Our podcast ends with a story of “fever dreams,” fallen friends, and a fighting rooster who lived to see the after-life. Ed Calderon now has a song of his own.

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