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  • Randy Pench / Bee file, 1997

    Randy Pench Bee file, 1997 Investigative reporter Gary Webb is surrounded by documents in 1997 in his Carmichael home. Webb's claim that the CIA played a role in the U.S. spread of crack cocaine was widely disputed.

  • Gov. Rick Perry

The Buzz:: Jeremy Renner may play late reporter Gary Webb in movie

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 3:10 pm

Modesto native Jeremy Renner, star of "The Hurt Locker," is set to play the late Capitol investigative reporter Gary Webb in the upcoming film "Kill the Messenger," according to news reports.

Webb worked in the Capitol press corps for the San Jose Mercury News, which published the 1996 "Dark Alliance" series alleging CIA ties to the U.S. crack cocaine market. Webb's series asserted that drug dealers flooded African American communities with cut-rate cocaine, using profits to finance Central American guerrillas backed by the CIA.

After several major publications disputed Webb's claims, the Mercury News reassigned him and he ultimately left the paper in 1997.

He published a book in 1999, "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion," that further detailed his story.

Webb later worked in the Assembly as a committee consultant, investigating subjects such as a failed state Oracle Corp. contract, and at the Sacramento News & Review.

He committed suicide in 2004 at his Carmichael home.

OC Weekly managing editor Nick Schou wrote the 2006 book "Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb" that serves as the basis for the new film.

– Kevin Yamamura

BY THE NUMBERS

Bridgeport, Conn. is tops for high-income households, but Silicon Valley ranks No. 2, according to a Census Bureau report. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont ranks No. 4. Napa is No. 10, the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area 11th, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 15th, Santa Barbara-Santa Maria 16th, San Diego and vicinity 18th and Santa Rosa-Petaluma 23rd.

– Dan Walters

WORTH REPEATING

"It was colorful. It was awesome. He got a lot of coverage. He helped the effort."

TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY, to the San Jose Mercury News, on Gov. Jerry Brown's comment that Perry's business-poaching foray into California was "barely a fart."

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