Mexico's Drug War

December 12, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 43
Is the violence spilling into the U.S.?
By Peter Katel


Mexican drug-runner under arrest (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Jaime "The Hummer" González Durán, arrested on Nov. 7, is the latest alleged major narco-trafficker to be nabbed by Mexican authorities. Durán is reputedly a founding member of the Zetas, army deserters who became hitmen for the Gulf drug cartel. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

A violent drug war between the Mexican government and vicious drug gangs is escalating just over the border in Mexico — and causing concern among U.S. law-enforcement officials and lawmakers. The cartels already effectively control significant stretches on the Mexican side of the border, and now they're expanding activities on the U.S. side, including kidnapping Americans. More than 5,300 people — gangsters, soldiers, police, journalists and other civilians — have been killed this year, more than double last year's toll. Some victims have been beheaded. The Bush administration has stepped up security assistance to Mexico, but so far the aid hasn't dented the gangs' firepower, which largely depends on smuggled U.S. weapons. Some prominent foreign-policy experts say the ultimate solution is preventing drug abuse in the United States, not expanding the Mexican government's arsenal.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Drug Abuse and Trafficking
Aug. 06, 2021  Opioid Crisis
Jul. 24, 2019  Opioid Addiction
Jun. 14, 2018  Opioid Addiction
Jun. 29, 2017  Drug Abuse
Oct. 07, 2016  Opioid Crisis
Jul. 19, 2016  Drug Abuse
May 02, 2014  Treating Addiction
Jun. 03, 2011  Teen Drug Use
Jun. 12, 2009  Legalizing Marijuana Updated
Dec. 12, 2008  Mexico's Drug War
Feb. 09, 2007  Combating Addiction
Jun. 02, 2006  War on Drugs
Jul. 15, 2005  Methamphetamine
Jul. 28, 2000  Drug-Policy Debate
Nov. 20, 1998  Drug Testing
Jan. 06, 1995  Treating Addiction
Mar. 19, 1993  War on Drugs
Feb. 23, 1990  Does the War on Drugs Need a New Strategy?
May 20, 1988  The Business of Illicit Drugs
Jan. 23, 1987  Experimental Drugs
Feb. 08, 1985  The Fight Against Drug Smuggling
Aug. 27, 1982  Cocaine: Drug of the Eighties
Jun. 11, 1982  Prescription-Drug Abuse
Jan. 23, 1976  Changing U.S. Drug Policy
Dec. 13, 1972  World Drug Traffic
May 27, 1970  Heroin Addiction
Jan. 27, 1965  Psychotoxic Drugs
Jul. 18, 1962  Narcotics Addiction: Punishment or Treatment
Sep. 05, 1956  Control of Drug Addiction
Mar. 28, 1951  Drug Addiction
Arms Control and Disarmament
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
Substance Abuse