Natalie So at The Believer:
In the early ’90s, the FBI had learned of a Vietnamese-Chinese heroin organization that was closely aligned with Vietnamese street gangs throughout the United States. Their connections were wide-ranging, and they were loosely affiliated with the Triads (including Frank Ma, one of the last Chinese “godfathers” in New York), as well as with several other high-echelon Asian crime bosses in various American cities. But this heroin organization operated differently from the Asian gangs of previous generations.
First, they relied on two key pieces of technology: the cellular phone and the pager. They were financially and technologically savvy, and instead of being tied to one specific location, they operated a national network, with cells and confederates in various cities.