This Is How Paul Le Roux Was Finally Caught

If this were a scene from a movie or a TV show, the viewer would see a drug kingpin sitting across the table from a Colombian cartel leader. The kingpin would be sneering and confident as he discussed terms of a deal that would involve large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamines, including what unpleasant things he would do to those who crossed him. Then suddenly, the doors would burst open, and police would file in with guns drawn. The action would pause, and the viewer would hear a voice-over: "Well, you might wonder how we got to this point ... "

Does that sound fictional? It's not — it happened in a scenario involving Paul Le Roux, a former computer programmer and murderous drug kingpin. Indeed, his story is seemingly snatched from the books in the "Thriller" section of bookstores. It all seems so absurd ... and it's all true. It's a story of greed, murder, and betrayal.

According to a story in Smithsonian Magazine, the saga of Paul Le Roux, who was born in South Africa, began after he created an extremely secure form of encryption for computer disks during the tail end of the 20th century. After that, he took his technical prowess to the internet during a time when the whole thing was still trying to define itself. And his first step was to create an online pharmacy that allowed people to buy prescription painkillers online.

Paul Le Roux got more ruthless over time

According to a Wired piece, as he got deeper into the drug trade, Paul Le Roux became even more ruthless. He had anyone who stole from him killed, including a woman named Catherine Lee, a real estate agent. His total number of victims is unknown, but it is at least seven. Ultimately, things led up to that fated meeting with the Colombian cartel head and Le Roux's subsequent arrest. And it turns out that the cartel leader was an informant of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). To make things sting even more, the person who arranged the get-together was also a DEA informant. Before long, Le Roux was trying to work out ways to have any impending sentence lessened by working with the DEA.

At this point, the movie or TV show would fast-forward to the trial. As The New York Post reported, Le Roux got 25 years in federal prison, minus the time that he was in custody. He was 47 at the time of the sentencing, so he will be 72 when it ends. Once he's out again, hopefully, he won't aim to make a sequel to this story.