Gangland: The Rise of the Mexican Drug Cartels from El Paso to Vancouver

Image of Gangland: The Rise of the Mexican Drug Cartels from El Paso to Vancouver
Author(s): 
Release Date: 
October 31, 2011
Publisher/Imprint: 
Wiley
Pages: 
288
Reviewed by: 

“Gangland gives readers an insightful, detailed account of the rise of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations and their relentless pursuit of profit and power, as well as Mexico’s descent into violence, cruelty, and corruption—all just across the river.”

Gangland: The Rise of the Mexican Drug Cartels is much like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, only with drug dealers instead of songbirds. The book is both a history and a bellwether of the Mexican drug cartels and the increasing levels of violence and atrocity they have brought to the border and beyond.

The Mexican cartels began as a means to move cocaine for the Colombians as the American and Colombian authorities increased their sea and airborne surveillance. As the Colombian police and military diminished the Colombian cartels the Mexicans were more than happy to fill the vacuum; however, where the Colombians had to use land, air, and sea to move their drugs into the U.S., the Mexicans only had to hop a fence or wade a river.

Jerry Langton gives a detailed account of the politicians, journalists, law enforcement personnel, and the “narcos” on both sides of the trade. The billion-dollar industry has corrupted local officials and police all across Mexico and sparked wars over territory—and even personnel—that have resulted in a tit-for-tat escalation between the drug lords and the police and the cartels themselves.

Mr. Langton reveals just how the drug cartels’ capacity for brutality and atrocity is highlighted by their penchant for beheadings and ritualized torture in the mode of the Santa Muerta cult. He examines the terrible effects the cartels have already had in the U.S. with kidnappings and money laundering by Wachovia and Bank of America. Even more disturbing, he describes the cartels’ threat to the stability of the Mexican government and the potentially terrible repercussions of having a failed state at our southern border.

Gangland gives readers an insightful, detailed account of the rise of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations and their relentless pursuit of profit and power, as well as Mexico’s descent into violence, cruelty, and corruption—all just across the river.