Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America


In a ranch south of Texas, the man known as The Executioner dumps five hundred body parts in metal barrels. In Brazil’s biggest city, a mysterious prisoner orders hit-men to gun down forty-one police officers and prison guards in two days. In southern Mexico, a meth maker is venerated as a saint while enforcing Old Testament justice on his enemies.

A new kind of criminal kingpin has arisen: part CEO, part terrorist, and part rock star, unleashing guerrilla attacks, strong-arming governments, and taking over much of the world’s trade in narcotics, guns, and humans. What they do affects you now–from the gas in your car, to the gold in your jewelry, to the tens of thousands of Latin Americans calling for refugee status in the U.S. Gangster Warlords is the first definitive account of the crime wars now wracking Central and South America and the Caribbean, regions largely abandoned by the U.S. after the Cold War. Author of the critically acclaimed El Narco, Ioan Grillo has covered Latin America since 2001 and gained access to every level of the cartel chain of command in what he calls the new battlefields of the Americas. Moving between militia-controlled ghettos and the halls of top policy-makers, Grillo provides a disturbing new understanding of a war that has spiraled out of control–one that people across the political spectrum need to confront now.



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Timothy McAllister

Current, diverse examples, and timely to Drug Policy debate (as well as exceptional “true crime”) Grillo’s current book, “Gangster Warlords”, is CURRENT. As a person who loves nonfiction as much as good fiction I know that when reading non-fiction knowledge is only as good as it is up-to-date. Reading a book on “current social issues” that references information from the 1970s or before can be entertaining, but not really ‘useful’. Grillo is using the most current information possible, partially because he is a part of the sources for the most current information available,…

Joshua Forter

This is investigative reporting and analysis at it’s very finest. Ioan Grillo does it again

Alexander LaRosa

Little long winded. Could be tighter. Author wants …