Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire (Hardcover)
With a foreword by four-time Oscar nominated filmmaker Michael Mann.
The story of Paul LeRoux, the twisted-genius entrepreneur and cold-blooded killer who brought revolutionary innovation to international crime, and the exclusive inside story of how the DEA’s elite, secretive 960 Group brought him down.
Paul LeRoux was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa. After a first career as a pioneering cybersecurity entrepreneur, he plunged hellbent into the dark side, using his extraordinary talents to develop a disruptive new business model for transnational organized crime. Along the way he created a mercenary force of ex-U.S. and NATO sharpshooters to carry out contract murders for his own pleasure and profit. The criminal empire he built was Cartel 4.0, utilizing the gig economy and the tools of the Digital Age: encrypted mobile devices, cloud sharing and novel money-laundering techniques. LeRoux’s businesses, cyber-linked by his own dark worldwide web, stretched from Southeast Asia across the Middle East and Africa to Brazil; they generated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales of arms, drugs, chemicals, bombs, missile technology and murder. He dealt with rogue nations—Iran and North Korea—as well as the Chinese Triads, Somali pirates, Serb mafia, outlaw bikers, militants, corrupt African and Asian officials and coup-plotters.
Initially, LeRoux appeared as a ghost image on law enforcement and intelligence radar, an inexplicable presence in the middle of a variety of criminal endeavors. He was Netflix to Blockbuster, Spotify to Tower Records. A bold disruptor, his methods brought international crime into the age of innovation, making his operations barely detectable and LeRoux nearly invisible. But he gained the attention of a small band of bold, unorthodox DEA agents, whose brief was tracking down drugs-and-arms trafficking kingpins who contributed to war and global instability. The 960 Group, an element of the DEA’s Special Operations Division, had launched some of the most complex, coordinated and dangerous operations in the agency’s history. They used unorthodox methods and undercover informants to penetrate LeRoux’s inner circle and bring him down.
For five years Elaine Shannon immersed herself in LeRoux’s shadowy world. She gained exclusive access to the agents and players, including undercover operatives who looked LeRoux in the eye on a daily basis. Shannon takes us on a shocking tour of this dark frontier, going deep into the operations and the mind of a singularly visionary and frightening figure—Escobar and Victor Bout along with the innovative vision of Steve Jobs rolled into one. She puts you in the room with these people and their moment-to-moment encounters, jeopardy, frustration, anger and small victories, creating a narrative with a breath-taking edge, immediacy and a stranger-than-fiction reality.
Remarkable, disturbing, and utterly engrossing, Hunting LeRoux introduces a new breed of criminal spawned by the savage, greed-exalting underside of the Age of Innovation—and a new kind of true crime story. It is a look into the future—a future that is dark.
About the Author
Elaine Shannon, acclaimed veteran correspondent for Time and Newsweek, is the author of the New York Times bestseller Desperados: Latin Drug Lords, U.S. Lawmen, and the War America Can’t Win, which served as the basis for Michael Mann’s Emmy-winning NBC miniseries Drug Wars: The Camarena Story, and its Emmy-nominated sequel, Drug Wars: The Cocaine Cartel. Shannon is a highly respected investigative reporter, trusted by law enforcement and intelligence organizations, and an expert on terrorism, organized crime, and espionage. She is the author of No Heroes: Inside the FBI’s Secret Counter-Terror Force and The Spy Next Door: The Extraordinary Secret Life of Robert Philip Hanssen. She lives in Washington, D.C. You can contact her at Elaine@elaine-shannon.com.
“An amazing story, a triumph of investigative reporting and storytelling, Elaine Shannon’s Hunting LeRoux inhabits a global world of crime and policing that very few people have even heard of, much less understand. It reveals not just the newest methods, but a cast of characters who could only exist in modern times, equally proficient with weapons and computers. There’s nothing else quite like it.”
— Mark Bowden, New York Times bestselling author of Black Hawk Down and national correspondent for The Atlantic
“Elaine Shannon’s Hunting LeRoux is an investigative masterpiece. It’s the most comprehensive look at the inner workings of a complex, high-level DEA operation ever put on paper. It’s a fascinating look at an international crime syndicate and the charismatic and lethal next-generation crime lord who weaponized the internet to build a new kind of empire. Paul LeRoux is a calculating, cold-blooded killer and one of the most intriguing and frightening criminals I’ve ever read about. It’s a testament to Shannon’s skill as a writer that she fuels the book with such a detailed preoccupation with process that Hunting LeRoux reads like a propulsive page-turning thriller. Meticulously documented and with exclusive access to almost all of the key players on both sides of the law, this is the definitive work on the rise and fall of malign actor Paul LeRoux as well as a jaw-dropping crime saga. Shannon takes the reader inside the story so that you’re in the room, on the hunt, and dead center in the middle of the action with elite DEA agents operating without borders in a tense and dangerous Global manhunt to take down a twenty-first-century criminal kingpin. It’s a stunning work by a master investigative journalist.”
— Don Winslow, New York Times bestselling author of The Cartel and The Power of the Dog
“The New Now of transnational crime. Elaine Shannon’s incisive, you-are-there account of cyber-crime syndicate godfather Paul Calder LeRoux is a scorching, hair-raising glimpse into a new kind of criminal who’s altogether terrifying because he’s altogether real.
— Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestsellingauthor of Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone