El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
54
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A gripping, sobering account of how Mexican drug gangs have transformed into a criminal insurgency that threatens the nation's democracy and reaches across to the United States.

"Essential reading."-Steve Coll, NewYorker.com

The world has watched stunned at the bloodshed in Mexico. Thirty thousand murdered since 2006; police chiefs shot within hours of taking office; mass graves comparable to those of civil wars; car bombs shattering storefronts; headless corpses heaped in town squares. And it is all because a few Americans are getting high. Or is it? The United States throws Black Hawk helicopters and drug agents at the problem. But in secret, Washington is confused and divided about what to do. Who are these mysterious figures tearing Mexico apart? they wonder. What is El Narco?

El Narco draws the first definitive portrait of Mexico's drug cartels and how they have radically transformed. El Narco is not a gang; it is a movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands from bullet-ridden barrios to marijuana-growing mountains. And it has created paramilitary death squads with tens of thousands of men-at-arms from Guatemala to the Texas border. Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent a decade in Mexico reporting on the drug wars from the front lines.

This piercing book joins testimonies from inside the cartels with firsthand dispatches and unsparing analysis. The devastation may be south of the Rio Grande, El Narco shows, but America is knee-deep in this conflict
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"Without this testimony, we simply cannot grasp what is going on . . . Americans would do well to read [Gangster Warlords]." --The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

From the author of El Narco, the shocking story of the men at the heads of cartels throughout Latin America: what drives them, what sustains their power, and how they might be brought down.

In a ranch south of Texas, the man known as The Executioner dumps five hundred body parts in metal barrels. In Brazil's biggest city, a mysterious prisoner orders hit-men to gun down forty-one police officers and prison guards in two days. In southern Mexico, a meth maker is venerated as a saint while enforcing Old Testament justice on his enemies.

A new kind of criminal kingpin has arisen: part CEO, part terrorist, and part rock star, unleashing guerrilla attacks, strong-arming governments, and taking over much of the world's trade in narcotics, guns, and humans. What they do affects you now--from the gas in your car, to the gold in your jewelry, to the tens of thousands of Latin Americans calling for refugee status in the U.S. Gangster Warlords is the first definitive account of the crime wars now wracking Central and South America and the Caribbean, regions largely abandoned by the U.S. after the Cold War. Author of the critically acclaimed El Narco, Ioan Grillo has covered Latin America since 2001 and gained access to every level of the cartel chain of command in what he calls the new battlefields of the Americas. Moving between militia-controlled ghettos and the halls of top policy-makers, Grillo provides a disturbing new understanding of a war that has spiraled out of control--one that people across the political spectrum need to confront now.
4.4
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Nov 1, 2011
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781608195046
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Latin America / Mexico
Social Science / Criminology
True Crime / General
True Crime / Organized Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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With the war between the Mexican state and the drug traffickers operating within its borders having claimed over 70,000 lives since 2006, noted journalist and author Michael Deibert zeroes in on the story of the notorious Gulf Cartel, their deadly war with their former allies Los Zetas, the cartel's connections in Mexican politics and what its trajectory means for Mexico’s--and America’s--future.

Punctuated by the disappearance of busloads of full of people from Mexican highways, heavy-weapon firefights in once-picturesque colonial towns and the discovery of mass graves, nowhere has the violence of Mexico’s drug war been more intense than directly across the border from East Texas, the scene of a scorched-earth war between two of Mexico’s largest drug trafficking organizations: The Gulf Cartel, a criminal body with roots stretching back to Prohibition, and Los Zetas, a group famous for their savagery and largely made up of deserters form Mexico's armed forces. From the valleys and sierras of rural Tamaulipas and Nuevo León to the economic hub of Monterrey, the violence rivals anything seen in the more well-known narco war in Ciudad Juárez, 830 miles to the west.

Combining dozens of interviews that the author has conducted over the last six years in Mexico and other countries in the region along with a vast reserve of secondary source material, In the Shadow of Saint Death gives U.S. readers the story of the war being waged along our border in the voices of the cartel hitmen, law enforcement officials, politicians,  shopkeepers, migrants  and children living inside of it year-round. Through their stories, the book will pose provocative questions about the direction and consequence of U.S. drug policy and the militarized approach to combating the narcotics trade on both sides of the border.
Gangster Paul Grimes was a one-man crimewave with a breathtaking capacity to steal. Any villains who got in his way were made to pay - often with their blood. But when his son died of a drugs overdose, the old-school mobster swore revenge on the new generation of Liverpool-based heroin and cocaine dealers. Against all odds, he turned undercover informant.

The first gangster to fall foul of Grimes' change of heart was Curtis Warren, aka 'Cocky', the wealthiest and most successful criminal in British history. Grimes infiltrated his cocaine cartel and led Customs to the largest narcotics seizure on record, putting Warren in the dock in the drugs trial of the twentieth century.

After turning his attention to heroin baron John Haase, Grimes rose to become the boss of the villain's notoriously bloodthirsty 'security firm' - a professional gang of racketeers addicted to cocaine, explosive violence and non-stop criminality. But as his net began to tighten, Grimes was confronted with the ultimate dilemma. He discovered his second son was now a rising star in the drugs business. The life-or-death question was: should he shop him or not?

Powder Wars also reveals the secrets behind one of the most controversial episodes in British judicial history - how former Home Secretary Michael Howard was duped into granting John Haase a Royal Pardon.

Today, Paul Grimes has a £100,000 contract on his head and is a real-life dead man walking. Powder Wars is a riveting account of modern gangsters told in brutal detail.

"Without this testimony, we simply cannot grasp what is going on . . . Americans would do well to read [Gangster Warlords]." --The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

From the author of El Narco, the shocking story of the men at the heads of cartels throughout Latin America: what drives them, what sustains their power, and how they might be brought down.

In a ranch south of Texas, the man known as The Executioner dumps five hundred body parts in metal barrels. In Brazil's biggest city, a mysterious prisoner orders hit-men to gun down forty-one police officers and prison guards in two days. In southern Mexico, a meth maker is venerated as a saint while enforcing Old Testament justice on his enemies.

A new kind of criminal kingpin has arisen: part CEO, part terrorist, and part rock star, unleashing guerrilla attacks, strong-arming governments, and taking over much of the world's trade in narcotics, guns, and humans. What they do affects you now--from the gas in your car, to the gold in your jewelry, to the tens of thousands of Latin Americans calling for refugee status in the U.S. Gangster Warlords is the first definitive account of the crime wars now wracking Central and South America and the Caribbean, regions largely abandoned by the U.S. after the Cold War. Author of the critically acclaimed El Narco, Ioan Grillo has covered Latin America since 2001 and gained access to every level of the cartel chain of command in what he calls the new battlefields of the Americas. Moving between militia-controlled ghettos and the halls of top policy-makers, Grillo provides a disturbing new understanding of a war that has spiraled out of control--one that people across the political spectrum need to confront now.
Mexico is in a state of siege. Since President Felipe Calderon declared a war on drugs in December 2006, more than 38,000 Mexican have been murdered. During the same period, drug money has infused over $130 billion into Mexico's economy, now the country's single largest source of income. Corruption and graft infiltrate all levels of government. Entire towns have become ungovernable, and of every 100 people killed, Mexican police now only investigate approximately 5 eases.

But the market is booming: In 2009, more people in the United States bought recreational drugs than ever before. In 2009, the United Nations reported that some $350 billion in drug money had been successfully laundered into the global banking system the prior year, saving it from collapse.

How does an "extra" $350 billion in the global economy affect the murder rate in Mexico? To get the story and connect the dogs, acclaimed journalist John Gibler travels across Mexico and slips behind the frontlines to talk with people who live in towns under assault: newspaper reporters and crime-beat photographers, funeral parlor workers, convicted drug traffickers, government officials, cab drivers and others who find themselves living on the lawless frontiers of the drug war. Gibler tells hair-raising stories of wild street battles, kidnappings, narrow escapes, politicians on the take, and the ordinary people who fight for justice as they seek solutions to the crisis that is tearing Mexico apart. Fast-paced and urgent, To Die in Mexico is an extraordinary look inside the raging drug war, and its global implications.

"Gibler's front-line reportage coupled with first-rate analysis gives an uncommonly vivid and nuanced picture of a society riddled and enervated by corruption, shootouts, and raids, where murder is the 'most popular method of conflict resolution.' . . . At great personal risk, the author unearths stories the mainstream media doesn't–or is it too afraid–to cover, and gives voice to those who have been silenced or whose stories have been forgotten." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Gibler argues passionately to undercut this 'case study in failure.' The drug barons are only getting richer, the murders mount and the police and military repression expand as 'illegality increases the value of the commodity.' With legality, both U.S. and Mexican society could address real issues of substance abuse through education and public-health initiatives. A visceral, immediate and reasonable argument." —Kirkus Reviews

"Gibler provides a fascinating and detailed insight into the history of both drug use in the US and the 'war on drugs' unleashed by Ronald Reagan through the very plausible – but radical – lens of social control. . . . Throughout this short but powerful book, Gibler accompanies journalists riding the grim carousel of death on Mexico's streets, exploring the realities of a profession under siege in states such as Sinaloa and just how they cover the drugs war." —Gavin O’Toole, The Latin American Review of Books

John Gibler is a writer based in Mexico and California, the author of Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt (City Lights Books, 2009), and a contributor to País de muertos: Crónicas contra la impunidad (Random House Mondadori, 2011). He is a correspondent for KPFA in San Francisco and has published in magazines in the United States and Mexico, including Left Turn, Z Magazine, Earth Island Journal, ColorLines, Race, Poverty, and the Environment Fifth Estate, New Politics, In These Times, Yes! Magazine, Contralínea, and Milenio Semanal.

In this unprecedented and chilling monologue, a repentant Mexican hitman tells the unvarnished truth about the war on drugs on the American. El Sicario is the hidden face of America's war on drugs. He is a contract killer who functioned as a commandante in the Chihuahuan State police, who was trained in the US by the FBI, and who for twenty years kidnapped, tortured and murdered people for the drug industry at the behest of Mexican drug cartels. He is a hit man who came off the killing fields alive. He left the business and turned to Christ. And then he decided to tell the story of his life and work. Charles Bowden first encountered El Sicario while reporting for the book "Murder City". As trust between the two men developed, Bowden bore witness to the Sicario's unfolding confession, and decided to tell his story. The well-spoken man that emerges from the pages of El Sicario is one who has been groomed by poverty and driven by a refusal to be one more statistic in the failure of Mexico. He is not boastful, he claims no major standing in organized crime. But he can explain in detail not only torture and murder, but how power is distributed and used in the arrangement between the public Mexican state and law enforcement on the ground - where terror and slaughter are simply tools in implementing policy for both the police and the cartels. And he is not an outlaw or a rebel. He is the state. When he headed the state police anti-kidnapping squad in Juarez, he was also running a kidnapping ring in Juarez. When he was killing people for money in Juarez, he was sharpening his marksmanship at the Federal Police range. Now he lives in the United States as a fugitive. One cartel has a quarter million dollar contract on his head. Another cartel is trying to recruit him. He speaks as a free man and of his own free will - there are no charges against him. He is a lonely voice - no one with his background has ever come forward and talked. He is the future - there are thousands of men like him in Mexico and there will be more in other places. He is the truth no one wants to hear.
"Drug Lord is the real thing. Raw, immediate, indispensable."—Don Winslow, author of The Power of Dog and California Fire and Life

"The [drug smuggling] business goes on, the slaughtered dead pile up, the US agencies continue to ratchet up their budgets, the prisons grow larger and all the real rules of the game are in this book, some kind of masterpiece."—Charles Bowden, from the introduction

"Pablo Acosta was a living legend in his Mexican border town of Ojinaga. He smuggled tremendous amounts of drugs into the United States; he survived numerous attempts on his power—and his life—by rivals; and he blessed the town with charity and civic improvements. He was finally slain in 1987 during a raid by Mexican officials with the cooperation of US law enforcement. Poppa has turned out a detailed and exciting book, covering in depth Acosta's life; the other drug factions that battled with him; the village of Ojinaga; and the logistics of the drug operation. The result is a nonfiction account with enough greed, treachery, shoot-outs, and government corruption to fascinate true crime and crime fiction readers alike. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

Terrence E. Poppa, an award-winning journalist, was a finalist for a 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his investigations into the connection between crime and government in Mexico. He was featured in Standoff in Mexico, a PBS production about fraudulent elections in Mexico. Due to his unique insights into the world of Mexican drug trafficking, Poppa has been widely interviewed on radio and television, including Larry King Live and The O'Reilly Factor.



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