The evolution of drug trafficking and organized crime in Latin America

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9 Scopus citations


This article analyses the evolution of illegal drug economy in the Americas over the past two decades. It identifies eight key trends that have characterized illicit drug trafficking and organized crime as of mid-2011. They are: (1) the increasing globalization of drug consumption; (2) the limited victories and unintended consequences of the U.S.-led 'War on Drugs'; (3) the proliferation of cultivation areas and of drug smuggling routes; (4) the dispersion and fragmentation of organized criminal groups; (5) the failure of political reform and state-building efforts; (6) the inadequacies U.S. domestic drug and crime control policies; (7) the ineffectiveness of regional and international drug control policies; (8) the growing support for legalization debate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-123
Number of pages25
JournalSociologia, Problemas e Praticas
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Drug trafficking
  • Latin america
  • Organized crime
  • War on drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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