Small Wars Journal

Mexico's Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction

Thu, 03/17/2016 - 3:27am

Mexico's Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction

SWJ-EL Centro Fellow Nate Jones just published the book Mexico's Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction. The text is published by Georgetown University Press. The following synopsis describes the book:

Mexican drug networks are large and violent, engaging in activities like the trafficking of narcotics, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, and mass murder. Despite the impact of these activities in Mexico and abroad, these illicit networks are remarkably resilient to state intervention.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interviews with US and Mexican law enforcement, government officials, organized crime victims, and criminals, Nathan P. Jones examines the comparative resilience of two basic types of drug networks―"territorial" and "transactional"―that are differentiated by their business strategies and provoke wildly different responses from the state. Transactional networks focus on trafficking and are more likely to collude with the state through corruption, while territorial networks that seek to control territory for the purpose of taxation, extortion, and their own security often trigger a strong backlash from the state.

Timely and authoritative, Mexico's Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction provides crucial insight into why Mexico targets some drug networks over others, reassesses the impact of the war on drugs, and proposes new solutions for weak states in their battles with drug networks.

Dr. Nathan P. Jones received his PhD from the University of California, Irvine, is a SWJ-El Centro Fellow, and is a nonresident scholar in drug policy and Mexico studies at the Baker Institute at Rice University. He currently serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University.

Categories: El Centro


It drives me wild that we are considering at different levels involvement in either the civil war in Libya and/or the mess in Syria, while one of our neighboring countries has a dangerous war going on within its borders and has been for decades. Europe complains about the imposition of refugees from the Middle East, but I wonder how many time more refugees the US has received from South and Central America, as well as Mexico as a result of drug trafficking fueled civil war.

Mexico is a FAR more clear issue of US national interest than anyplace in the Middle East is.

Have a great day!