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Drugs and ThugsThe History and Future of America's War on Drugs$
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Russell Crandall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300240344

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300240344.001.0001

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El Narco Mexicano

El Narco Mexicano

(p.270) 18 El Narco Mexicano
Drugs and Thugs

Russell Crandall

Yale University Press

This chapter elaborates on how Mexico's decades of living dangerously were in part fueled by the U.S. war on drugs. It talks about the cultural shifts that normalized drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s that had ripple effects from the opium fields of the Sierra Madre to the government agencies of Mexico City. It also explains how the colossal demand for drugs across the border prompted Mexican entrepreneurs to get into the drug business, as it had throughout Latin America. The chapter examines the struggles for control of the drug trade that led to the concentration of power in the hands of a small number of gangs and cartels on the Pacific and Gulf coasts, in border states such as Chihuahua, and in sparsely populated and lightly policed Sinaloa. It details how Mexican gangs smuggled homegrown marijuana and heroin to their northern neighbors for decades leading up to the 1980s.

Keywords:   cocaine, heroin, opium fields, drug business, Mexican drug gangs, marijuana, war on drugs

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