Published: February 2019
THE STORY OF PAUL LEROUX, THE TWISTED-GENIUS ENTREPRENEUR AND COLD-BLOODED KILLER WHO BROUGHT REVOLUTIONARY INNOVATION TO TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, AND THE EXCLUSIVE INSIDE STORY OF HOW THE DEA'S ELITE, SECRETIVE 960 GROUP BROUGHT HIM DOWN
With a foreword by four-time Oscar nominee Michael Mann
Paul LeRoux was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa. After a first career as a pioneering cybersecurity entrepreneur, he plunged hell-bent into the dark side, using his extraordinary talents to innovate a revolutionary new 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 problem solving 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, rapid scalability, cloud sharing, and new money-laundering techniques. LeRoux's businesses, cyberlinked by a dark web of his own invention, stretched from Southeast Asia across the Middle East and Africa to Brazil; they generated hundreds of millions of dollars in the sales of arms, drugs, chemicals, bombs, and missile technology, as well as murder for hire. He dealt with rogue nations-Iran and North Korea-as well as Chinese triads, Somali warlords, Serb mafia, militants, and corrupt African and Asian officials.
Initially, LeRoux appeared as a ghost image on law enforcement and intelligence radar, an inexplicable presence in the middle of a variety of criminal enterprises. 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-Pablo Escobar and Viktor Bout and 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 breathtaking 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.