Five criminals in far-flung parts of the world, five D.E.A. sting operations, five dubious links between drugs and terror. The characters are different but the story remains the same. Authorities said each case demonstrated alliances between terrorists and drug traffickers, but most of the alleged links fell apart in court. Here’s how narco-terrorism cases are made. Related Story »
Click on a headshot below to see how each case unfolded.

These accounts are based on court records, DEA investigative reports, press reports, congressional testimony, and interviews with current and former DEA officials, former prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.

Additional research by Cynthia Cotts, special to ProPublica.