The popular history of narco-Mexico has long been narrowly framed by the U.S. “War on Drugs.” Stereotypes overemphasize the criminal agency of celebrity drug lords. Common understanding of the narco world is rooted in mythology and misunderstanding, and the public narrative has consistently downplayed links to respected individuals and legitimate society. In Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds sociologist and criminologist James H. Creechan draws on decades of research to paint a much more nuanced picture of the transformation of Mexico’s narco cartels. Creechan details narco cartel history, focusing on the decades since Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs. With sobering detail, Creechan unravels a web of government dependence, legitimate enterprises, covert connections, and violent infighting. He details how drug smuggling organizations have grown into powerful criminal mafias with the complicit involvement of powerful figures in civil society to create covert netherworlds. Mexico is at a moment of change—a country on the verge of transition or perdition. It can only move forward by examining its history of narco-connections spun and re-spun over the last fifty years.
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