Through some never before seen photos, LIFE magazine looks back on how the U.S. government tried to snip the illegal drug problem at the bud during the war on drugs in 1969. (Warning: some images may be NSFW.)
The topic is quite sensitive but LIFE magazine is not known to shy away from a story even if it meant having to put the spotlight on the illegal drug trade in America. The 1969 story that appeared on the magazine titled “MARIJUANA: At Least 12 Million Americans Have Now Tried It. Are penalties too severe? Should it be legalized?” depicted the country’s fight to thwart the drug problem that’s seeping into U.S. soil.
Some unpublished photos from the feature story shed more light into the war on drugs that use the U.S. – Mexican border as a backdrop. One can almost imagine the hard time getting past the border with such attention and strict patrolling going around. LIFE staff photographer Co Rentmeester delivered gritty coverage of the war on drugs that was waged by U.S. Customs through a program dubbed as “Project Intercept.”
Looking at the photographs, I remember the pedal-to-the-floor action and white-knuckling tension while I watched the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, just chilling.
All information and photos in this article were sourced form LIFE.