Traffic is a 2000 American crime drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Stephen Gaghan. It explores the illegal drug trade from a number of perspectives: a user, an enforcer, a politician and a trafficker. Their stories are edited together throughout the film, though all of the characters do not meet. The film is an adaptation of the British Channel 4 television series Traffik.
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In Mexico, police officer Javier Rodriguez (del Toro) and his partner, Manolo Sanchez (Vargas), stop a drug transport and arrest the couriers. Their arrest is interrupted by General Salazar (Milian), a high-ranking Mexican official, who decides to hire Javier. Salazar instructs him to locate and apprehend Francisco Flores (Collins, Jr.), a notorious hitman for the Tijuana Cartel, headed by the Obregón brothers.
Back in Tijuana, Flores, under torture, gives Salazar the names of important members of the Obregón cartel, who are arrested in a large effort by police and army soldiers. Javier and Salazar's efforts begin to cripple the Obregón brothers' cocaine outfit, but Javier soon discovers Salazar is a pawn for the Juárez Cartel, the rival of the Obregón brothers. That entire portion of the Mexican anti-drug campaign is a fraud, as Salazar is wiping out one cartel because he has aligned with another for profit.
Javier 's partner, Sanchez, attempts to sell the information of Salazar's true affiliation to the DEA, but is killed for his betrayal. Javier, who can no longer stomach working for Salazar, decides to make a deal with the DEA. In exchange for his testimony, Javier requests electricity in his neighborhood, so the kids can play baseball at night rather than be tempted by street gangs and crime. Salazar's secrets are revealed to the public, and he is arrested and dies in prison.
Javier explains to the media about the widespread corruption in the police force and army. In Mexico, Javier watches as children play baseball at night in their new stadium.
Meanwhile, Robert Wakefield (Douglas), a conservative Ohio judge, is appointed to head the President's Office of National Drug Control, taking on the title drug czar. Robert is warned by his predecessor (Brolin) and several influential politicians that the War on Drugs is unwinnable. His daughter, Caroline (Christensen), an honors student, has been using cocaine and develops a drug addiction after her boyfriend Seth (Grace) introduces her to smoking it. Caroline and Seth are arrested when a fellow student overdoses on drugs at a party. As Robert and his wife Barbara (Irving), struggle to deal with the problem he discovers that she has known about their daughter's involvement with drugs for over six months.
Robert realizes his daughter Caroline is a drug addict and is caught between his demanding new position and difficult family life. On a visit to Mexico, he is encouraged by the successful efforts of Salazar in hurting the Obregón brothers. When he returns to Ohio, Robert learns his efforts to see Caroline rehabilitated have failed. She ran away to the city of Cincinnati, where no one knows her location. She steals from her parents and prostitutes herself to procure money for drugs.
Robert drags Seth along as he begins to search Cincinnati for his daughter. After a drug dealer that Caroline had freque
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