Organized crime permeates the life of every single country in the 21st century: its global revenues are well above a trillion dollars a year and illicit drugs are a major component of this. Drug prohibition, in effect for almost a century, has not been the deterrent to consumption it was intended to be, and the illicit drug trade has become the most profitable source of revenue for criminal organizations in many countries.
This paper reviews the US-Mexican illicit drug landscape and documents the importance of this criminal activity in both countries. The United States is the primary market for illicit drugs in the world and, because of their shared 2,000-mile border, Mexico has become the number one provider of illicit drugs. More than 40 years after a ‘war on drugs’ was declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, the flow of drugs into the United States has not been eliminated or even reduced. The law of supply-and-demand has prevailed, as should have been expected.