National Geographic announced today a companion podcast to the network’s new investigative series, TRAFFICKED WITH MARIANA VAN ZELLER. After each episode of the television series, the award-winning journalist will bring audiences closer to understanding the lives of traffickers in THE TRAFFICKED PODCAST WITH MARIANA VAN ZELLER. Van Zeller will sit down with former black-market operators to hear the story of their rise, fall, boom and bust; and spark intimate, honest and empathetic conversations that pull back the curtain on the global underworld and the people who make their livelihoods within it. THE TRAFFICKED PODCAST will be available wherever you listen to podcasts on Thursdays, beginning December 3.
THE TRAFFICKED PODCAST will feature candid interviews with country rapper Struggle Jennings about his former life dealing prescription opioids, Tony Bosch on his infamous role in the largest performance-enhancing drugs scandal in American sports history, and the “Hollywood Madam,” Heidi Fleiss. Van Zeller will reveal how they got pulled to the dark side; how they got caught; and what it was like to live the outlaw lifestyle.
Armed with National Geographic’s trademark inside access, the eight-episode television series Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller, premieres December 2 at 9/8c, with van Zeller as both executive producer and correspondent. Each investigation takes viewers on a journey inside the most dangerous black markets on the planet as the Peabody and duPont Award-winning journalist explores the inner workings of different underground economies – from tiger traffickers and international scammers to counterfeiters, gunrunners and fentanyl suppliers. The series offers viewers a mission-driven adventure to places rarely seen, providing an intimate peek behind these criminal curtains.
Podcast topics include the following:
Thursday, December 3
For many years, outlaw country rapper Struggle Jennings chased his music dreams while dealing drugs to pay the bills, until one night in a parking lot in Memphis when it all came crashing down.
Thursday, December 10
Mariana breaks down how Tony Bosch made it big in the billion-dollar market of performance-enhancing drugs – and how he lost it all in a steroid scandal involving some of the biggest names in baseball.
Thursday, December 17
Mariana dives into an underground world of heists, smuggling and organized looting with Michel van Rijn, one of the world’s most prolific artifact smugglers who made dangerous enemies in the billion-dollar illicit art market.
Thursday, December 24
Despite having started her business at just 22, “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss developed a star-studded list of clients, all meticulously organized in her red Gucci planner, lists that eventually helped take her down.
Thursday, December 31
Mariana sits down with one of the original cocaine cowboys to hear about his life as a drug trafficking pilot and the unexpected bust that crashed his flight.
Thursday, January 7
Part of the duo that inspired the movie War Dogs, David Packouz was a major player in the weapons trade by age 25 – until he got caught selling illegal ammo to the U.S. government.