The first official seeds of Mexico’s international drug trade can be found in a government study conducted in 1886. That survey found opium poppies growing in the mountains of the Sierra Madre, planted by Chinese immigrants.
Those first few plants were the beginning of what would become a multi-billion dollar industry in Mexico, the epicenter of the heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and meth trades in the Western Hemisphere.
Ioan Grillo has watched the growth of the most recent violent cartels, witnessing the carnage firsthand in his extensive reporting on the drug war. He lives in Mexico City. His most recent book, El Narco, looks at the past, present, and future of Mexico’s drug trade, and what effect the policies of the United States have had on the violence south of the Rio Grande.
What questions do you have for Ioan Grillo? How have you been affected by the drug wars in Mexico?