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Plata o plomo: penetration, the purchase of power and the Mexican drug cartels

Jeffrey Simser (Ministry of the Attorney General, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Money Laundering Control

ISSN: 1368-5201

Article publication date: 19 July 2011




The paper aims to explore the penetration of power in Mexico by drug cartels and the attendant policy challenges to address the problem.


The history of unlawful activity and cartels is discussed as well as the policy solutions being explored by the Mexican Government and its partners like the USA.


The challenges are longstanding, complex and defy simple solutions. Concerted problem solving can change conditions on the ground.

Research limitations/implications

The impact of longer term initiatives to strengthen the rule of law merits further study.

Practical implications

Drug cartels are taking a huge toll on Mexico, particularly in terms of violence; this threatens not only Mexico but neighbouring countries as well.


The problems Mexico faces are placed in historical context and in the context of the larger international trade in illicit drugs.



Simser, J. (2011), "Plata o plomo: penetration, the purchase of power and the Mexican drug cartels", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 266-278.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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