Narco-Saints is a South Korean series that follows a businessman who assists in the secret mission of the National Intelligence Service in order to apprehend the Korean drug lord who has taken over Suriname in South America. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Narco-Saints follows Kang Ingu as he recounts his life’s events and how he came to be living in Suriname among drug traffickers.
Ingu’s father left him when he was born to serve for five years in the Vietnam War. After his return, he worked himself to the bone until he was killed in an accident.
In middle school, Kang began Judo because he didn’t have to pay for school or meals, but once his parents died, he was forced to abandon Judo and start working to support his siblings.
Kang continued to work hard. He sold meals to hikers and worked in a karaoke bar. After getting married, he ultimately worked his way up to managing a bar that was frequented by American soldiers who stayed behind after the war.
Although he was earning a respectable income, Kang was exhausted by his life of constant hard work and lack of free time for his family and children.
Around this time, he learned about an intriguing business opportunity from his childhood friend, Eungsoo. For the first time in his 20 years of sailing, when Eungsoo visited the small country of Suriname in Latin America, he discovered that the Surinamese do not eat skatefish; they are thrown back into the water. Skatefish, however, is a fish with limited supplies and increasing demand in South Korea.
Even though Kang is initially unimpressed with this business idea, a few more problematic nights at his bar and his emotional desperation to be a better parent for his children eventually persuade him to take a risk.
With the intention of buying skatefish for cheap prices and selling it to Korea for a substantial profit, Kang travels to Suriname with Eungsoo and starts a small factory.
While the company gets off to a promising start, further issues arise for Kang. First, with an army officer who demands money for a protection policy for his company, and then with a local Chinese mob who threatens to kill them if they don’t pay him monthly.
When Kang and Eungsoo visit the local Korean church one day, they meet Jeon Yohan, a pastor from South Korea, who offers to help them. The Chinese mob issue is resolved, but a few days later, Kang learns that the shipment of fish he shipped to Korea had cocaine and is seized by Dutch authorities. Kang is detained and serves jail time for a few months.
Narco-Saints ending explained in detail:
How did Jeon become Suriname’s cocaine godfather?
Incheon was the target of a massive operation in 1990 to arrest a meth smuggling gang. The operation was successful, and the network was shut down, but Jeon Yohan, who was in charge of distribution, was able to escape with 10 kg of meth.
Jeon then switched to other methods and eventually became a pastor. Jeon’s charismatic smile, sharp tongue, and meth were the driving forces behind the success of his church. As it was getting harder for Jeon to stay in Korea, he made the decision to relocate to Suriname, which is close to Colombia and has access to high-quality cocaine but has not yet signed an extradition agreement with Korea.
Suriname had all the drugs, gangs, and corruption Jeon could ask for. He also found a close ally in the form of General Delano, who had taken control of the nation in a coup.
With Delano’s help, Jeon eliminated all the other gangs in Suriname, and as soon as he acquired the exclusive rights to Colombian cocaine, he began the smuggling process.
He used his female followers as drug smugglers in Europe. Some of them were even detained, but they decided to stay quiet out of loyalty and faith. He trained the men to be his own private army, and despite switching from meth to cocaine, he continued to influence his followers to take his drugs under duress since it was the most effective way to keep them submissive.
After creating an army of hundreds of Zealots willing to die for him, he earned the title of Suriname’s cocaine godfather.
Why did Choi Changho visit Kang in prison?
While Kang is detained, Choi Changho, a member of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, approaches him. He discloses that Jeon is responsible for putting cocaine in Kang’s skatefish supply and for killing his friend Eungsoo.
Changho gives Kang a chance to take part in an operation by working as an NIS informant inside Jeon’s gang and convincing Jeon to smuggle through the USA in exchange for dropping all criminal charges and a hefty reward.
They want Kang to get close to Jeon and persuade him to sell his cocaine in the US so that he can be apprehended there without any interference.
Kang was aware of the great risk he would be taking on by trying to work against Jeon, especially after learning that Eungsoo was killed by Jeon’s gang, but he also knew that there was no other option for him to avoid prison.
Did Choi Changho and Kang Ingu capture Jeon?
Before getting into trouble with the Cali Cartel, Jeon wanted to use Chen Zhen’s distribution networks to sell off his cocaine. But following Chen Zhen’s death, Jeon was forced to transport the cocaine to Korea via Puerto Rico, which is a US territory.
The NIS and the DEA would be ready for Kang when he takes Jeon’s drugs and flies to Puerto Rico, as per their plan. Once Kang returns safely to South Korea, they will claim that Jeon attempted to transport cocaine through American territory and arrest him there.
Due to numerous unsettling situations that have occurred in the past, Jeon decided to make a last-minute decision to send one of his trusted men to Puerto Rico with the drugs while keeping Kang with him as a potential hostage.
When the plane landed in Puerto Rico, the DEA secured the cocaine and directed the authorities to arrest Jeon from Suriname. Jeon was certain that something was awry when he received a cryptic message from his devoted follower via a call from Puerto Rico.
Kang is taken hostage by Jeon, but he’s rescued by Byeon Ki and the DEA soldiers. When Jeon attempted to flee into the thick Surinamese forests, Kang, Changho, and the rest of the DEA squad were there just in time to intercept him and finally capture Jeon Yohan.
The DEA decided to send Jeon to Korea after taking him to investigate more into the Cali Cartel’s whereabouts. Kang finally returns to South Korea after celebrating their success and reunites with his wife and two kids.