Mexican Cartels
An Encyclopedia of Mexico's Crime and Drug Wars
by David F. Marley
October 2019, 337pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6475-9
$107, £83, 94€, A147
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6476-6
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After the U.S. Border Patrol began using drones in 2005 to monitor suspicious movement, Mexican cartels started deploying drones to carry drug shipments and bundles of money across the border.

This captivating resource covers the bloody history of Mexican drug cartels from their rise in the 1980s to the latest round of brutal violence, which has seen more than 125,000 Mexican citizens killed over the past decade.

This comprehensive reference work offers a detailed exploration of the vicious drug organizations that have enveloped Mexico in extreme violence since the 1980s. Organized alphabetically, the book features more than 200 entries on the major individuals and organizations that have dominated Mexico’s booming illegal drug trade, as well as the Mexican armed forces and police units that have faced off against them in the escalating War on Drugs.

The book opens with illuminating essays that provide context for Mexico’s cartels and the long-running War on Drugs and explore the impact of the cartels on the United States. The A-Z entries that follow include such topics as Vincente Fox, “El Chapo” Guzman, the Golden Triangle, Operation Border Star, and the Sinaloa and Zetas cartels. Other entries focus on various anti-drug campaigns, crucial events, and weaponry favored by the cartels. The entries are augmented by an expansive chronology, a colorful glossary, and an extensive bibliography.


  • Offers a reliable resource for students and researchers who want to explore the world of Mexican drug cartels more knowledgeably and in greater depth
  • Provides accurate information on many facets of the drug trade, much of which has been erroneously represented in the popular press and other media outlets
  • Explores in detail the impact of the drug war in both Mexico and the United States
  • Enables readers to pursue connections from one entry to another through numerous cross-references
David F. Marley is a historian who lived in Mexico City for more than three decades, researching and teaching at the Colegio de México and Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico City. He attended the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor, obtaining MAs in history and political science. Marley's published works include ABC-CLIO's Mexico at War: From the Struggle for Independence to the 21st-Century Drug Wars, Pirates of the Americas, and Wars of the Americas: A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the Western Hemisphere.


"No competing encyclopedia of this type exists. Nothing like it has ever been published before on this subject matter."—Small Wars Journal, January 30, 2020
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