On December 10, 2004, Gary Webb, a Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist, was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the head. The verdict was suicide. The gun used to kill Webb was a .38 caliber pistol, which has to be re-cocked between shots. One expert dismissed the suicide verdict as "implausible and fabricated".
Ricky Ross, one of Webb's primary sources, had spoken to Webb in the days before his "suicide". Webb told Ross that he had seen men scaling down the pipes outside his home and that they were obviously not burglars but "government people". Webb also told Ross that he had been receiving death threats and was being regularly followed. Webb also mentioned that he was working on a new story concerning the CIA and drug trafficking. Webb had described the men around his home as "professionals" who jumped from his balcony and ran away when he confronted them.
Webb had earlier exposed CIA drug trafficking operations in a series of books and reports for the San Jose Mercury News in 1996. Webb had alleged that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold tons of crack cocaine in Los Angeles and funneled millions of dollars in profits to the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980s.
With considerable prescience, Webb had written on CounterPunch.com in March 2001: "To this day, no-one has ever been able to show me a single error of fact in anything I've written about this drug ring, which includes a 600-page book about the whole tragic mess. But, in the end, the facts didn't really matter. What mattered was making the damned thing go away, shutting people up, and making anyone who demanded the truth appear to be a wacky conspiracy theorist. And it worked..."
Webb believed that journalists were revolutionaries. In 2003 Gary shared his radical perspective about journalists with aspiring Journalism students while a guest instructor/editor at The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism in Mexico. Webb exclaimed: "Journalists are revolutionaries and don't let anyone tell you otherwise." Webb continued, "You have to fight to change the world." In a 2004 article entitled Gary Webb is Dead, the author, Richard Thieme, revealed: "Gary spoke of his work in terms that I used for ministry. He had been mentored by a journalist who taught him that his work was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."