Latin America

Organized crime diversifies as War on Drugs flounders in Mexico

The arrest of a former Defense Minister found to be colluding with cartels has exposed further failings of Mexico's never-ending War on Drugs

mexico war on drugs
Mexican troops raid poppy and marijuana fields confiscated in the state of Chihuahua. Photo: Octavio Hoyos/Shutterstock

The War on Drugs has been a defining aspect of public security policy in several Latin American countries for decades. However, as recent scandals across the region have shown, existing anti-drug operations are futile as organized crime becomes more and more powerful. Indeed, criminal groups are targeted mainly for their drug trafficking activities, but ongoing trends have shown that gangs and cartels are expanding into a wide array of endeavors, including extortion, illegal mining and logging, oil theft, and even avocado farming.

As The Brazilian Report has shown, organized crime groups from Mexico down to Brazil have used the state’s...

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