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Nelson Spence was born on September 9, 1917, in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. After 32 years of service, he retired from the U. S. Customs Service in 1972. He began collecting newspaper clippings documenting smuggling and the drug trade in 1969, when he was given the task of shooting publicity photos for Operation Intercept. He compiled 40 notebooks full of clippings. This research led him to write Tomorrow Cancelled, a novel about drug smugglers in the El Paso/Juárez area. Spence also wrote a pamphlet on diabetes available in both English and Spanish. He died April 12, 2000. The collection contains newspaper clippings on all aspects of drug smuggling. Articles are primarily from the El Paso Times and the El Paso Herald-Post, though there are a few items from other sources.