Ioan Grillo


I’m a journalist, writer and TV producer based in Mexico City. I’ve been covering Latin America since 2001 for news media including Time Magazine, CNN, The Associated Press, Global Post, The Houston Chronicle, PBS NewsHour, Al Jazeera English, France 24, CBC, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Gatopardo, The San Francisco Chronicle and many others. El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency is my first book.

I started covering drug cartels from my early days here. I was always fascinated by the riddle of these ghost like figures who made $30 billion a year, were idolized in popular songs and miraculously escaped the Mexican army and DEA. Over the decade I followed the mystery to endless murder scenes on bullet-ridden streets, mountai

Ioan Grillo isn't a Goodreads Author (yet), but he does have a blog, so here are some recent posts imported from his feed.

La hidra llamada narcotráfico

El autor del libro El Narco explica que el Estado perdió el control de la delincuencia organizada cuando ésta mutó con la llegada de la alternancia en el País

Olivia Guzón /Noroeste Especial


La hidra llamada narcotráfico

El autor del libro El Narco explica que el Estado perdió el control de la delincuencia organizada cuando ésta mutó con la llegada de la alternancia en el País, luego Cal...

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Published on January 03, 2013 12:31
Average rating: 4.04 · 3,786 ratings · 386 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
El Narco: Inside Mexico's C...

4.02 avg rating — 3,073 ratings — published 2011 — 16 editions
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Gangster Warlords: Drug Dol...

4.10 avg rating — 673 ratings — published 2016 — 4 editions
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El Narco

4.35 avg rating — 40 ratings
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“The growing policy-reform movement is a broad church. It includes everyone from ganja-smoking Rastafarians to free-market fundamentalists and all in between. There are socialists who think the drug war hurts the poor, capitalists who see a business opportunity, liberals who defend the right to choose, and fiscal conservatives who complain America is spending $40 billion a year on the War on Drugs rather than making a few billion taxing it. The movement can’t agree on much other than that the present policy doesn’t work. People disagree on whether legalized drugs should be controlled by the state, by corporations, by small businessmen, or by grow-your-own farmers, and on whether they should be advertised, taxed, or just handed out free in white boxes to addicts.”
Ioan Grillo, El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

“But the ugly truth is that a huge number of weapons made or sold in the United States go to Mexican cartels. This is an irrefutable fact. Mexico itself has almost no gun stores and weapons factories and gives away few licenses. Almost all weapons in the hands of cartel armies are illegal. In 2008, Mexico submitted the serial numbers from close to six thousand guns they had seized from gangsters to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. About 90 percent, or 5,114 of the weapons, were traced to American gun sellers. The ATF and Obama administration acknowledged America’s responsibility in this tragedy. But the gun lobby still refused to concede the point. What about tens of thousands of other seized weapons in Mexico that hadn’t been traced? gun activists said. The Mexican government, they alleged, was only tracing guns that looked as if they had come from America to sway the debate. So to make it easier to trace weapons seized in Mexico, the ATF introduced a new computer system. Between 2009 and April 2010, this traced another 63,700 firearms to U.S. gun stores.18 And those are only the ones they have captured. People can argue endlessly about the exact percentages, but the underlying fact is that tens of thousands of guns go from American stores to Mexican gangsters.”
Ioan Grillo, El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

“On December 1, 2006, federal deputies were brawling in Mexico’s Congress hours before Felipe Calderón was due to enter the chamber to be sworn in as president. It was a fight for space. The leftist deputies claimed their candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, had really won the election but been robbed of his rightful victory. They were trying to gain control of the podium to stop Calderón from taking the oath and assuming office. The conservative deputies were defending the podium to allow the presidential accession. The conservatives won the scrap. There were more of them, and they seemed to be better fed. Among those attending the ceremony were former U.S. president George Bush (Bush the First) and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I was covering the Congress door, snatching interviews as guests went in. The elderly Bush hobbled past with six bodyguards with bald heads and microphones at their mouths. I asked him what he thought about the ruckus in the chamber. “Well, I hope that Mexicans can resolve their differences,” he replied diplomatically. Schwarzenegger strolled past with no bodyguards at all. I asked what he thought about the fisticuffs. The Terminator turned round, stared intensely, and uttered three words: “It’s good action!” I phoned the quote back to headquarters and it went out on a wire story. Suddenly, Schwarznegger’s statement was being bounced around California TV stations. Then the BBC led their newscast with it: “It takes a lot to impress Arnold Schwarznegger but today when he was in Mexico …” I got frantic phone calls from the governor’s office in Los Angeles. Was his quote perhaps being used out of context? Well, I replied, I asked him straight and he told me straight.”
Ioan Grillo, El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

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