The Weekly | How Tainted Gold May Have Ended Up in Your Phone

Producer/Director Brent McDonald

If you’re reading this on your phone, you may be holding illegally mined gold from Colombia, where the precious metal has replaced cocaine as the main source of income for organized crime. The growing demand for gold as a conductive metal used in phones and other electronic products has helped spawn a deadly illegal trade that’s harder to track than other black-market commodities like blood diamonds or drugs.

“The Weekly” travels to Colombia, where violent paramilitary groups have infiltrated every level of the supply chain, extorting prospectors, gold traders and some of the country’s top mining officials. Our correspondent Nicholas Casey traces gold tainted by criminal enterprises to see who profits, and who looks the other way. He discovers a route from illegal Colombian mines to the source that Apple and other major companies use to buy metals to make phones and other products many of us carry in our pockets every day.

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[Watch the full episode of “The Weekly” on FX and streaming on Hulu.]


Senior Story Editors Dan Barry, Liz O. Baylen, and Liz Day
Colombia Producer Yerlin Pineda
Producer Lizzie Blenk
Directors of Photography Victor Tadashi Suarez and Vanessa Carr
Video Editor David Herr
Associate Producer Lora Moftah




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