Houston Matters

Gangster Warlords: A New Type of Criminal Unleashes a New Kind of Violence on Central and South America

According to journalist Ioan Grillo, there’s a new kind of criminal that’s risen in Central and South America in recent years: a hybrid of CEO, terrorist and rock star. One that commands guerilla attacks, strong-arms governments and deals in narcotics, guns and humans. In his new book, called Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and […]

Gangster Warlords Book Cover Ioan GrilloAccording to journalist Ioan Grillo, there’s a new kind of criminal that’s risen in Central and South America in recent years: a hybrid of CEO, terrorist and rock star. One that commands guerilla attacks, strong-arms governments and deals in narcotics, guns and humans.

In his new book, called Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America, the former Houston Chronicle reporter describes the people behind the crime wars that have swept across the region, creating a humanitarian crisis.

He says the current crime wars have marked a new type of violence in places like Mexico — a shift from regular gang members or skilled assassins to fighting between groups that more resemble paramilitary organizations. And he says it’s taken violence to a new level.

MORE: Gangster Warlords Excerpt (Time, Jan. 19, 2016)

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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