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CARTEL by Sylvia Longmire

CARTEL

The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars

By Sylvia Longmire

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-230-11137-0
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Overview of the war on drugs being fought without relief in Mexico and the United States.

In her debut, Longmire is a longtime analyst of drug trafficking, advising government agencies on the realities and solutions that might mean a few victories along the porous, violence-ridden U.S.-Mexican border. The author covers a lot of material in a relatively brief book, sometimes giving the text the feel of linked encyclopedia entries. Still, the prevalence of breadth over depth is no major shortcoming, since Longmire offers fresh insights into almost every facet of the war on drugs. She makes a convincing case that within the United States, the violence stemming from illegal substances has caused more injuries and deaths than generally acknowledged by law-enforcement agencies. Those casualties are in addition to the dangers of ingesting contaminated narcotics sold and purchased illegally. Mexican drug organizations have established sizable marijuana growing fields within national parks and forests throughout the United States. When law-enforcement officers or unsuspecting civilians enter the fields, their lives might be endangered by trigger-happy Mexican criminals determined to protect their lucrative cash crops from detection. The most frequent danger from infiltrated marijuana fields seems to be concentrated in California. Longmire demonstrates, however, that potential free-fire zones have cropped up in North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee and other states far from the Mexican border. Switching aspects of the drug war chapter by chapter, Longmire explains why law-enforcement agents have been mostly unable to halt the flow of weapons from the United States into Mexico. Legalization of currently illegal substances will never serve as a panacea, writes the author, but strategic legalization might alleviate some of the violence.

One-stop shopping for basic knowledge about U.S.-Mexican narcotics diplomacy.