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The Shadow Catcher

The Shadow Catcher

A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico's Deadly Crime Cartels

Living under an assumed identity and risking his life were all in a day’s work for U.S. Government Agent Hipolito Acosta. He worked regularly in high-stakes undercover operations infiltrating Mexico’s murderous immigrant smuggling rings and drug cartels.

Acosta’s investigations are legendary, both inside law enforcement and the crime cartels he helped neutralize. He had himself smuggled from Mexico to Chicago with a truckload of poor immigrants; worked his way into the confidences of a gang of international counterfeiters; socialized with some of Mexico’s most vicious drug lords; arrested a female smuggler by luring her across the U.S. border for an amorous rendezvous; and was the target of multiple murder plots by the criminals he put in jail.

For three decades, Hipolito Acosta’s work routinely made national headlines, and he quickly gained a reputation as a daring crime fighter who used his intelligence and audacity to stay one step ahead of those who would kill him if his cover were ever blown.

Acosta’s stories read like chapters from a page-turning crime novel, but The Shadow Catcher is more than a front-seat ride through the criminal underworld along the U.S./Mexico border. This heartbreaking exposé goes beyond sensational headlines and medals of honor to divulge what an agent endures in order to ensure that U.S. law is enforced and to reveal the unseen human side of illegal immigration.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451632873 | 
  • April 2012
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Read an Excerpt


Playing Pollo from Ciudad Juarez to Chicago

THE CHILL OF the river cut through my body like a jolt of electricity. The night was black and starless, and the water was creeping up to my neck. I felt like I was suffocating, the coldness of the water and air were sucking the breath out of me.

My fear turned to panic as the current threatened to pull me under the surface. I was too far advanced into the river to turn back, and I was not close enough to the other bank to feel confident. Our slimy smuggling guide was moving effortlessly through the swift waters of the Rio Grande, but he did not bother to offer... see more

About the Author

Hipolito Acosta
Photograph by Michael D. Moore

Hipolito Acosta

Hipolito Acosta is the most highly decorated officer in the history of the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization Service. The son of Mexican-American migrant workers, Acosta rose through the ranks from Border Patrol Agent to a key position in the Department of Homeland Security. Acosta and his wife live in Texas.




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