Inside Mexico’s Drug Trade

We’ll go deep inside Mexico’s multi-billion-dollar drug trade, and the American market that drives it.

Federal police agents present Jaime Herrera, alias "El Viejito," alleged member of the Pacific drug cartel, to the press in Mexico City, Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012. (AP)

Federal police agents present Jaime Herrera, alias "El Viejito," alleged member of the Pacific drug cartel, to the press in Mexico City, Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012. (AP)

In the past two decades, Mexico has become a giant funnel feeding illegal drugs into the United States. And Americans have been more than willing buyers. The Mexican drug cartels feeding cocaine and heroin and pot and meth north are huge, violent organizations.

The man at the top of the biggest is Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman. Kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel. The world’s most powerful drug trafficker, says the U.S. government. Atop maybe the most successful criminal enterprise in history.

This hour, On Point: Inside the Mexican drug world of “El Chapo.”

-Tom Ashbrook


Patrick Radden Keefe, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a fellow at the Century Foundation. From 2010 to 2011, he was a policy adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His big story Cocaine Incorporated appeared in the New York Times last weekend.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Known as El Chapo for his short, stocky frame, Guzmán is 55, which in narco-years is about 150. He is a quasi-mythical figure in Mexico, the subject of countless ballads, who has outlived enemies and accomplices alike, defying the implicit bargain of a life in the drug trade: that careers are glittering but brief and always terminate in prison or the grave.”

Toronto Star “After nearly a decade at No. 2, last year’s death of Osama bin Laden bumped Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the top of Forbes magazine’s “World’s Most Wanted Man” list. Mexico and the U.S. have put their money where there mouths are, offering $7 million in rewards for his capture.”

Newsweek “After six years in office, Calderón is ready to step down in December, and the 50,000 people who have died during his drug war in Mexico continue to dominate the headlines. But a less-publicized and equally important story is that of the military generals spearheading the fight, the men who have led the charge against the ruthless, well-armed narcos who seem hellbent on reducing Mexico to a failed state.”


“Chapo Guzman” — La Liberacion

“Narco Batallón” — Beto Quintanilla


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