Baja Smugglers, the documentary, adventure, and political commentary on the US military border industrial complex is set to be released tomorrow. We linked up with deviant journalist, Jesse Aizenstat
, a few weeks ago to film Baja Smugglers. Driving deep into the heart of Baja Mexico, Jesse set out to find out what the panga drug smuggling trade was all about and why panga boats were ending up on the shores of Santa Barbara County beaches. In doing so, we found out a lot more then we were expecting, not only about the drug trade, smuggling, but also about US & Mexican border issues and the cultural divide.
We can’t divulge too much information about the trip as the documentary is not out until this Thursday, but check below for a photo recap of the adventure and come back tomorrow for the full release of the documentary!
Mr Luis (producer/translator for Baja Smugglers) and Jesse walking to the US/Mexican border to go have a “chat” with Border Patrol near San Diego. Now there are radar sensors, military helicopters, and drones on the border that do a good job catching people in urban areas. But back in the day, Mr Luis was telling me that his dad crossed the border by simply jumping the fence and running through the bush.
Once in Mexico, we went to a fishing port to jump on a panga to see what the experience was like and to go check out the water border.
Standing out at the Coronado Islands, just miles below the US-Mexican border. Jesse is looking North here, out to San Diego in the distance, noticing just how easy and open it is for Baja smugglers to make their journey into the United States. I guess I thought from watching the news that there would be all these crazy Navy ships or something . . . but there it is: San Diego. With open ocean in between.
Luis getting a better view of the landscape from atop the islands peak.
Luis making the trek back to our panga to return back to port.
Once back on dry land we traveled deep into the heart of Baja.
That night we slept in a dried out levy near the ocean.
This was our campsite, roughing it out in the wild.
Jesse taking a “water break”.
As you leave the paved roads of civilization you also leave the laws of society there as well.
Jesse & Luis taking in the sights before our plight into narco territory.
We setup camp near the ocean that night. Luis stands alone as our campfire burns into the darkness of the night.
The moonrise looked like a nuclear explosion in the distance.
Our campsite for the night.
The next morning Jesse & Luis set out to go surfing & reflect.
“Leaving the water after a Baja surf. Damn, I want to be back there” – Jesse Aizenstat
“The idea was that if we could brand ourselves as harmless surfers, we might just get some smuggler to talk to us. It worked.” – Jesse Aizenstat
Jesse & Luis ripping waves.
Afterwards we wanted to check out the landscape & decided to go trailblazing around the area.
Taking a break from the unrelenting Baja sun. Luis & Jesse find pasture underneath a rocky overhang.
“After a day of talking to some fishermen we decided to walk on top of this Baja mesa. The view was breathtaking. And the ocean almost looked out of place in the waterless land.” – Jesse Aizenstat
As the night fell we moved to find a new campsite. We took an old abandoned airport runway up as our new temporary home. The Mexican military had dug up large trenches in the runway to curb drug smugglers from using it as a landing strip to move Baja weed up the coast easily.
At land’s edge.
Camp for the night.
The darkness looking to swallow Luis up.
Perhaps something more lurked beyond the darkness, but we couldn’t tell.
The next day we ended up at this desolate fishcamp to check out narco activity.
Luckily we didn’t end up in the graveyards of Tijuana and instead are alive to tell the tale. Lot of the details left out so make sure to check back in for the full release of Baja Smugglers.