R. L. Cañas is the son of Salvadoran immigrants. In 1945, at the age of four, his family moved to San Francisco, California where he grew up and attended High School and University.
In 1976, while working with the US Drug Enforcement Administration as a Special Agent in San Francisco, Cañas accepted a post in Guatemala City, Guatemala. During his career with DEA he completed six years in Guatemala, and five years in Mexico City.
He has held various positions with the US government. Among the most notable are: Latin American Division of the CIA, Director of Counterterrorism and Counternarcotics at the White House NSC, Director of National Drug Intelligence, and Director of Department of Homeland Security, New Jersey.
His last published books with Authorhouse were non-fiction: Shift- The End of the Drug War, and Homeland Security at the State Level.