La Carga Blanca




With the end of prohibition, the smuggling of alcohol across the border drastically decreased. However, this was not the end of smuggling contraband from Mexico to the U.S. An increasing demand was growing in America for illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. This demand continued to grow into the 60’s and 70’s and still exists today. “La Carga Blanca”, composed by the famous corridista, Manuel C. Valdez, deals with the smuggling of cocaine. Usually, in the journey of cocaine from grower to user, Mexico has served as a middle passing point for the drug. Perhaps the smuggler’s of cocaine from Mexico to the U.S. play the most dangerous role in the illegal process. “La Carga Blanca” does not necessarily speak of a particular event in smuggling history, but instead represents a common scenario faced by many cocaine smugglers. Unlike the corridos of Mariano Resendez and los Tequileros, those who smuggled hard drugs as cocaine were not seen as heroes of intercultural conflict, but instead as actual criminals. This corrido serves as a warning to the people about the dangers associated with dealing in such a highly criminal and highly dangerous business, regardless of what the monetary rewards may be. An important aspect to note about “La Carga Blanca” is its timeless nature. First recorded in the late 1940’s, this corrido enjoyed more than sixty different recordings, including an appearance in the second LP of Los Tigres del Norte in the early 1970’s.




Cruzaron el Río Bravo
Ya casi al anochecer
Con bastante carga blanca
Que tenían que vender.

Llegaron a San Antonio
Sin ninguna novedad
Y se fueron derechito
A la calle Nacidad.

En una casa de piedra
Entraron José y Ramón,
Y en la troca se quedó
Esperándolos Simón.

Dos mil ochocientos pesos
Les pagó don Nicanor,
Y le entregaron la carga,
Eso si de lo major!

Apenas iban llegando
A la calle Vera Cruz
Cuando les cerró el camino
Un carro Negro sin luz.

No hagan ningún movimiento
Si no se quieren morir,
Y entréguenos el dinero
Que acaban de recibir.

Varios tiros de pistola
y unos gritos de dolor
se escucharon de repente
Esa noche de terror.

Tres muertos y dos heridos
La ambulancia levantó,
Pero el rollo de billetes
De ahí desapareció.

Ahora después según dicen,
Ya ven la gente cómo que es,
El dinero completito
Volvió a su dueno otra vez.

Despedidas, se las diera,
Pero hoy ya se me perdio,
Dejen los negocios checos,
Y ven lo que sucedió.

They crossed the Rio Grande
Just about sunset
With plenty of “white cargo”
That they had to sell.

They arrived in San Antonio
Without any trouble
And they went straight away
To Navidad Street.

José and Ramón entered
A house built of stone,
And Simón remained behind
Waiting for them in the truck.

Two thousand eight-hundred pesos
Don Nicanor paid to them,
And in return they handed over to him the “cargo,”
This, of course, of the very best quality!

Scarcely were they approaching
Vera Cruz Street
When they were cut off
By a black car running without lights.

“Don’t make any moves
if you don’t want to die,
and hand us over the money
that you’ve just received.”

A number of pistol shots
And some cries of pain
Were heard suddenly
On that night of terror.

Three dead and two wounded
Were hauled off by the ambulance,
But the roll of cash
Disappeared completely from the scene.

Now, afterwards, according to what is being said,
You can really see what people are like
They say that all the money
Returned to its original owner once again.

A farewell, I would give it to you if I could,
But now it seems that I’ve lost it,
Just abandon crooked business,
You’ve seen what happened.



This corrido represents one of the first transitions from alcohol smuggling to drug smuggling.  In contrast to the previous contraband corridos, “La carga blanca” illuminates the dangers of drug smuggling and even deters members of the Mexican community from taking part in it.  Stanza 10 makes this message explicit:  “Just abandon crooked business, / you’ve seen what happened.”  This corrido furthermore sets the stage for future narcocorridos, although some of the subsequent ballads glorify drug smuggling.