Study Examines Drug and Human Trafficking Overlap in Mexico

InSight Crime 12/21/2016 
azA recent study from a pair of academics specializing on border issues finds a wide degree of overlap between coyotes and drug traffickers along the US-Mexico border, with government policies helping to encourage the blurring of the lines between the two illicit activities.

The 2016 paper “On Narco-coyotaje: Illicit Regimes and Their Impacts on the US-Mexico Border,” by Howard Campbell and Jeremy Slack, probes the dynamics along the Mexican border between human traffickers, or coyotes, and their criminal cousins who traffic drugs.

Based largely on interviews with migrants in Tamaulipas, Sonora, and Baja California, the authors’ basic finding is that where once coyotes and drug traffickers operated in separate spheres, today there is a great deal of collaborative overlap. According to Campbell and Slack, who teach at the University of Texas-El Paso, this evolution essentially coincides with the growth of “a criminal hierarchy prioritizing the most powerful and profitable clandestine activity…drug trafficking”.

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