Inspirations of NARCOS to be Distinguished Lecturers

Javier Pena and Steve Murphy

Steve Murphy and Javier Peña are former DEA agents who successfully hunted down and captured the Colombian drug lord and narcoterrorist Pablo Escobar, the head of the Medellin Cartel in the 1980s and 1990s. Their exhilarating pursuit of the world’s first narcoterrorist has inspired the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix Original three-season series “NARCOS.”  

Murphy and Peña will bring their story to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville as they are this year’s Distinguished Lecturers. They will take over the Bo Ryan Court on Wednesday, March 27 for an hour-long presentation starting at 10 a.m. with a 30-minute question and answer session to follow.

Murphy and Peña were deployed to Bogota, Colombia in the mid-1980s to being the investigation of Escobar after the international cocaine trade exploded. Since retiring in 2013 (Murphy) and 2014 (Peña), the two American heroes have been traveling across the country recounting their captivating case through one of the biggest drug scandals of all time. 

The March 27 lecture will be live streamed from the university’s website for those unable to attend, and consistent with the recommendations of the Student Senate, Academic Staff Senate and Faculty Senate, Chancellor Dennis J. Shields has cancelled all classes, labs, lessons and campus-organized activities from 10 a.m. to noon.

“I hope that students get a once-in-a-lifetime experience from this presentation,” Markee Pioneer Student Center Assistant Director-Involvement Valerie Wetzel said. “Distinguished lecturers can help enhance the education of our students. Like Carol Sue Butts said when she was the provost, this is a great opportunity because it is a chance for the university to learn together. Everyone is coming together to learn from these experts and talk about the specific subjects.” 

According to the speakers’ biography, “With their use of tactful humor and seldom seen visuals, Murphy and Peña will take the audience through a captivating history as they retell their stories of the long-fought struggle that ended one of the biggest drug scandals of our time. Their inspirational team work and respect for one another’s efforts in their encounter with big-time criminals is unmistakable, and it will evoke the audience to see the possibilities that working as a team can create.”

Following the presentation at 11:30 a.m., Murphy and Peña will be in the Markee Pioneer Student Center Heritage Hall for an autograph-signing session.