Gary Stephen Webb is best known for his \”Dark Alliance\” series. The series examined the origins of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles. It claimed that members of the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua had played a major role in creating the trade. He committed suicide on December 10, 2004, at the age of 48.
About Gary Webb in brief
Gary Stephen Webb is best known for his \”Dark Alliance\” series. The series examined the origins of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles. It claimed that members of the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua had played a major role in creating the trade. Webb resigned from The Mercury News in December 1997. He became an investigator for the California State Legislature, published a book based on the series in 1998, and did freelance investigative reporting. He committed suicide on December 10, 2004, at the age of 48. He was married to Susan Bell; the couple eventually had three children. His father was a Marine sergeant, and the family moved frequently, as his career took him to new assignments. He began his career working for newspapers in Kentucky and Ohio, winning numerous awards, and building a strong reputation for investigative writing. He contributed to the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake. He also covered the collapse of the Cypress Street Viaduct in Cypress, California, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Reporting in 1990. He is survived by his wife, Susan Bell, and three children, all of whom he married in 1979. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his California home in December 2004, aged 48. His funeral was held in San Jose, California on December 11, 2004. He leaves behind a wife and a son, Gary Stephen Webb, Jr., who he also worked with at The San Jose Mercury News until his death in 2004.
His daughter, Amy Webb, is now a freelance investigative reporter for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of a book about her father’s life, “Dark Alliance: The Story of a Crack Cocaine Trade That Broke Free” (Simon & Schuster, 1998). She is also the co-author of a biography of Webb, “The Dark Alliance: A Journalist’s Life in the Shadow of the CIA” (New York: Simon &Schuster, 1997). Her husband, Gary Webb, also worked for The Cincinnati Post and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He won numerous awards for his investigative work, including for a series that examined the murder of a coal company president with ties to organized crime. In 1984, Webb wrote a story titled “Driving Off With Profits” which claimed that the promoters of a race in Cleveland paid themselves nearly 1 million dollars from funds that should have gone to the city of Cleveland. The article resulted in a lawsuit against Webb’s paper which the plaintiffs won. A jury awarded the plaintiffs over 13 million dollars and the case was later settled. In 1986, Webb won an undisclosed settlement with the Ohio Supreme Court for accepting contributions from groups with organized crime connections. In 1988, Webb was recruited by the San JoseMercury News, which was looking at the cause of the 1989 LomaPrieta earthquake, and was allowed to choose most of his own stories. He covered the earthquake for the Mercury News.