Filmmaker to tackle cocaine smuggling and human trafficking.

Deadline reports that ‘Syriana’ writer-director Stephen Gaghan has set up his next two directing projects.

The first project, which is currently untitled, will deal with the issue of smuggling of cocaine from Mexico. It is partly based on Richard Marosi’s four-part series in the LA Times. Marosi’s piece covered how an extensive DEA wiretap operation cracked a variety of smuggling rings transporting tons of cocaine from Sinaloa, Mexico, into Los Angeles and then across America.

His second, an indie drama setup over at Flashlight Pictures, will cover the subject of human cargo from China, and is based on Patrick Keefe’s book ‘The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream.’

The narrative book centers on Sister Ping, an elderly woman in Chinatown who used to run a noodle shop on Hester Street in New York City, while at the same time smuggling countless Chinese immigrants into the U.S. She made tens of millions, charging people $18,000 a head, but it all ended in 1993, when a shipment of 300 undocumented immigrants ran ashore in Queens. An FBI task force known as the “Jade Squad” spent the next decade untangling the network and chasing its elusive leader, who got a 35-year prison sentence.