Ioan Grillo: Cartels, the Fentanyl Crisis and U.S.-Mexico Relations in 2023
About the Event:
In his over 20 years covering the cartels, acclaimed journalist and best-selling author Ioan Grillo has: covered barbaric violence comparable to the tactics of ISIS; interviewed cartel leaders; been threatened himself; and detailed the brutal impacts of America’s drug addiction on the streets and in the homes of the U.S., Mexico and Central America.
Endemic corruption and the frequent absence of the rule of law have been destabilizing forces in Mexico long before the rise of drug cartels. But the estimated $150 Billion Americans spend each year on illegal drugs has given the cartels the financial ability to pay off government officials, recruit an endless supply of new members, control many markets beyond drugs, and engage in levels of violence comparable to a civil war with a powerful and modern array of weapons – largely bought in and brought from the U.S.
Grillo will discuss the cartels role in flooding the U.S. with fentanyl. It is over 50 times more potent than morphine and results in over 70,000 overdose deaths each year in the U.S. – making it a leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 45. While China is still the primary source of the precursor chemicals and required manufacturing equipment, now most of the cartel’s fentanyl is made in Mexico and then sold for massive profits in the U.S.
He will discuss the impacts of the cartels on Mexican society, its often weak governments and the related cooperation and tensions between the U.S. and Mexico. Mexicans, who suffer the vast majority of the narco-related violence, are frustrated by the U.S.’s inability to curb its massive drug addiction or stop the endless flow of weapons moving South. While the U.S. is exhausted by Mexico’s failure to reign in the control and power of the cartels.
Grillo will also address the realities of the U.S.’s now over 50 year struggle with ‘The War on Drugs’, and what policy changes or approaches might actually be able to reduce the U.S.’s dire and devastating addition to drugs.
Copies of his most recent book ‘Blood Gun Money’ will be available for signing by Ioan Grillo at the event.
About the Speaker:
Ioan Grillo is an award-winning journalist specializing in crime and drugs for media including the New York Times, Time magazine and the BBC World Service. Based in Mexico City, he has also worked the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, and Esquire.
Grillo is the author of: ‘El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency’, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; ‘Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Guardian Book of the Year; and the acclaimed ‘Blood Gun Money: How America Arms Gangs and Cartels’. He is the recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot Prize – he oldest international award in the field of journalism.