Major '60 Minutes' TV
Drug Story Called Hoax
LONDON (AP) -- Much of a widely seen British TV documentary on the Colombian drug trade was faked, a British newspaper alleges. Parts of the documentary appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes."
In a series of articles this week, the Guardian newspaper said a Carlton Television film on the Cali drug cartel contained a series of misrepresentations. Among them: A drug courier purportedly shown swallowing packets of heroin had no drugs in his stomach when he arrived in Britain, and he was stopped at Customs and deported rather than getting through to London as the film said.
The documentary also claimed a man with only low-level connections to the drug world was the No. 3 chief in the cartel, and showed a blindfolded film crew being led to an interview that actually happened in producer Marc de Beaufort's hotel room, according to the newspaper.
And the courier's flight, far from being a drug-smuggling mission arranged by the Cali cartel, was made on a ticket bought by the producer, The Guardian said.
De Beaufort denied the allegations and said he welcomed investigations under way by Carlton Television and Britain's Independent Television Commission.
"I have repeatedly invited them (The Guardian) to interview me and view all the film's rushes," he was quoted as saying in Thursday's Guardian.
The newspaper said a film researcher had written Carlton about the alleged fraud before the documentary aired. "60 Minutes" showed segments of the documentary in June and interviewed de Beaufort, the paper said.
On Friday, it quoted "60 Minutes" executive producer Don Hewitt as saying, "Any time any reputable news organization gives its readers or viewers details that later turn out not to be true, they are obligated to tell the truth."

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