The Tequila-Runner.

A Prohibition Ballad.

Wess Haubrich
6 min readMar 8, 2022


Naco, AZ and Naco, Sonora Mexico today. Source: LA Times

…He took cover behind a gigantic, stubby, painted rock in the border town of Naco as G-Men sharpshooters from the FBI and Department of Revenue took aim.

He was packing plenty of heat himself with this latest load of mezcal and tequila from Jalisco on his journey through the states of Sinaloa and Sonora, to this covert route through Naco to Bisbee, San Diego, and ultimately all the way up the Pacific coast to Seattle and the Canadian border.

So how the hell did the feds know about the route?

…A break in the sniping. The bums must be reloading…

He grabbed his Tommy gun and laid down suppressing fire with his equally well-armed crooked Mex army and federales, all paid under the table to escort shipments on the Mexican side to Cochise County on the American side.

The route was solid and well-concealed for his roomy, jerry-rigged Packard to get through the rugged landscape of the desert — storing the shipments in a series of undiscovered caves along the way, all in an effort to help keep temperature. This being old Apache territory only added to the secrecy and myth. Chief Cochise himself fought, died, and was buried in these parts.

So how the hell had the feds found the route? He wondered to himself, a cigarillo clenched between his teeth, breathing rapidly but trying to steady his nerves some. His rugged, sun parched, and unshaven face yelling “Die Pigs!” as he unloaded his feral, full-auto, instrument of death on them.

His Mexican compatriots began lobbing sticks of dynamite in the direction of the G-Men further up the boulder-strewn canyon. They badly miscalculated.

This strategy proved ineffective as the feds were more deeply entrenched and wider spread than expected. All the Mexican guard were picked off systematically. Above, buzzards circled in anticipatory hunger.

The Tequila Runner wasn’t about to go easily. Yet, like the rattle of the Western Diamondback, he recognized when he was cornered.

“That’s when I ca-pitu-lated, Kid”, he told me in his strong west Texas drawl as we sat doing shots of mezcal at a dirty little dive of a cantina on the Avenida Revolución in Tijuana.



Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.