Oct. 18, 2019
Bug Smuggling is Big Business
Photograph by Alex Hyde, Nature Picture Library

Special agent Ryan Bessey was in his office at the New Jersey branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in Galloway, on September 23, 2015, when he took a call from a colleague in the intelligence unit.

The analyst told him that French customs officers had seized 115 emperor scorpions in two shipments from Cameroon. They were addressed to a man in Metuchen, New Jersey, named Wlodzimie Lapkiewicz.

If French authorities considered the bust important enough to tell the U.S. about it, Lapkiewicz was worth looking into, Bessey thought. He began to do some digging.

National Geographic
How a Deadly Fall Revealed the CIA’s Darkest Secrets
Photograph: Guardian Design/Chris Clarke

Glass shattered high above Seventh Avenue in Manhattan before dawn on a cold November morning in 1953.

Seconds later, a body hit the sidewalk. Jimmy, the doorman at the Statler hotel, was momentarily stunned. Then he turned and ran into the hotel lobby. “We got a jumper!” he shouted. “We got a jumper!” The night manager peered up through the darkness at his hulking hotel. After a few moments, he picked out a curtain flapping through an open window. It turned out to be room 1018A. Two names were on the registration card...

The Guardian
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