Good Example Of Research Paper On Mexican Drug Cartels

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Drugs, Mexico, War, United States, Politics, Crime, Government, Organization

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/01/07

The Mexican Drug War refers to a persistent and asymmetric war between drug cartels and the Mexican government. In 2006, the Mexican military interjected in this low-intensity battle in which the Mexican government sought to curtail violence related to drugs. Moreover, the Mexican government has articulated its principal focus remains on disempowering and dismantling the drug cartels rather than drug trafficking prevention. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has defined a drug cartel as “an agreement between businesses not to compete with each other” (FBI, 2006). Drug cartels—often confused with drug trafficking organizations—are representative of organized crime that have existed for over twenty years (Finckenauer, 2006). Drug cartels are an amalgam of independence organs that agree to work in tandem under the guidance and direction of principal boss and particular leaders. Organized crime is characterized by longevity, the use of violence and intimidation tactics, the accumulation of profits, and an organization structure that facilitates criminal behavior and criminal acts, and concerted efforts to corrupt state officials, corporate representatives, and the police (Carter, 1994). Since the fall of the Columbian drug cartels during the 1990s, Mexican cartels have gained traction and are hegemonic in the current wholesale drug market. By 2007, the Mexican drug cartels were in control of over ninety percent of the cocaine imported into the United States (Vulliamy, 2010). The government made some progress in its efforts to bring down the Mexican drug cartels in Tijuana and those operating along the Gulf coast, as critical leaders have been arrested and incarcerated. Unfortunately, the arrests have resulted in the escalation of drug-related violence as the cartels vie for hegemony and control of the drug trafficking routes in the U.S. The sale of illicit drugs unequivocally has become a significant enterprise that yields power and prestige to those who participate in it. However, it also put the lives of those involved as well as their family in danger, as murder and public mutilation have become quotidian and normative features in Mexican society.
Experts approximate that illicit drug sales have yielded wholesale earnings ranging from fifteen billion dollars to fifty billion dollars each year. By 2012, the official death toll in the ongoing drug war was estimated to be around sixty thousand victims. By 2013, the death toll spiked to over a hundred and twenty thousand people. Almost thirty thousand people remain missing. Kidnappings and beheadings are ubiquitous and perpetrated by warring cartels that yearn to maintain a profitable drug business. The etiology of this explosive drug war took place in El Paso, Teas and Ciudad Juarez. Prior to the ascendance of drug cartels, Columbian drug cartels gained power and became involved in the trade of marijuana and opium that took place between the United States and Mexico. The influx of Chinese immigrants in the American Southwest catalyzed the burgeoning drug trade (Lupsha & Schlegal, 1980). By the 1940s, the United States had a dwindling supply of illicit drugs, so drug smugglers in Mexico took advantage of the porous national borders between the United States and Mexico in order to ship heroin and hemp to Americans. The groups that engaged in these smuggling activities were far smaller and were often described as “mom and pop distribution franchises” because they exploited their family ties in order to transport their goods in the U.S. As a result, Mexico took the lead in producing marijuana and poppy, which enabled these smaller organizations burgeon and expand into organized crime organizations (Lupsha & Schlegal, 1980). During the 1970s, the government adopted a law and order approach in its efforts to curtail the sale and consumption of illicit drugs. Indeed, drugs became legally constructed as crimes, which resulted in the exponential increase in American prisons.
The Mexican Drug War remains a pressing problem for both the United States and Mexico because U.S. demand spurs on drug smuggling across national borders. This ongoing war has spawned a litany of social and political ills. Indeed, as these problems continue to unfold in Mexico, waves of violence related to drugs will persist. Juarez and El Paso continue to function as the drug war zones that have emerged as ripe cities for sociologists to study due to the fact that violence can tear local communities asunder. The acceleration of the Mexican Drug War has rendered Mexico one of the most dangerous societies in the world to live in.


Doherty, B. (2009). Social science in the Drug War Zone. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from
Finckenaer, J.O. (2006). Laws, rules, and police policy. Criminology & Publlic Policy, 2(1), 161-166.
Lupsha, P.A. & Schlegal, K. (2008). The political economy of drug trafficking: the Herrera organization (Mexico & the United States. New Mexico: Latin American Institute.
Vulliamy, E. Amexica: War Along the Borderline. New York: Farmar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010.

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