• Javier Guerrero C.


Media, state agents, and most of the academic literature present the dynamics of drug trafficking as a catch-up game, in which smugglers are always a step ahead. The diversity of technologies and practices used by drug traffickers are considered as game changers in favour of criminals. The author argues that such interpretations are the result of snapshot of the most newsworthy strategies deployed by drug traffickers and side-lines the many mundane and prosaic practices and technologies used by both the drug smugglers and law enforcement agencies and military in the War on Drugs. Bringing to the fore the co-evolving character of technologies used by drug smugglers and state agencies will help avoid asymmetrical views on drug trafficking.


War on Drugs Drug trafficking Drug smuggling technologies 


  1. Antonopoulos, G. A., & Papanicolaou, G. (2018). What Is Organized Crime? In Organized Crime: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bagley, B. (2012). Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime in the Americas: Major Trends in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.Google Scholar
  3. Decker, S. H., & Townsend Chapman, M. (2008). Drug smugglers on Drug Smuggling Lessons from the Inside. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Drug Enforcement Administration. (1993). The Illicit Drug Situation in Colombia. U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  5. Echeverry, J. C. (2004). Colombia and the War on Drugs: How Short is the Short Run? Bogotá, DC: CEDE, Universidad de los Andes.Google Scholar
  6. Fedotov, Y. (2017). In Just Two Decades, Technology Has Become a Cornerstone of Criminality. Retrieved December 1, 2018, from
  7. Felbab-Brown, V. (2005). The Coca Connection: Conflict and Drugs in Colombia and Peru. Journal of Conflict Studies, 25(2). Retrieved from
  8. Feldman, A. (2004). Securocratic wars of public safety Globalized Policing as Scopic Regime. Interventions, 6(3), 330–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Galeotti, M. (2014). Introduction Global Crime Today. In M. Galeotti (Ed.), Global Crime Today the Changing Face of Organised Crime (pp. 1–7). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gootenberg, P. (2008). Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  11. Jesperson, S. (2018). Responding to Drug Trafficking: A Question of Motives. In T. Reitano, S. Jesperson, & L. Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo (Eds.), Militarised Responses to Transnational Organised Crime : The War on Crime (pp. 323–337). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kavanagh, C. (2018). IT and Cyber Capabilities as a Force Multiplier for Transnational Crime. In V. Comolli (Ed.), Organized Crime and Illicit Trade: How to Respond to This Strategic Challenge in Old and New Domains (pp. 37–77). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kawell, J. (2001). Closing the Latin American Air-Bridge: A Disturbing History. Foreign Policy in Focus, (May 1). Retrieved from
  14. López Restrepo, A. (1997). Costos del Combate a la Producción, Comercialización y Consumo de Drogas y a la Violencia generada por el Narcotráfico. In F. E. Thoumi (Ed.), Drogas Ilícitas en Colombia: Su impacto Económico, Político y Social (pp. 412–441). Bogotá, DC: Ariel, DNP.Google Scholar
  15. Mejía, D., & Restrepo, P. (2008). The War on Illegal Drug Production and Trafficking: An Economic Evaluation of Plan Colombia (p. 60). Bogotá, DC: Universidad de Los Andes; CEDE-Centro de Estudios sobre Desarrollo Económico.Google Scholar
  16. Melo, J. O. (1998). The Drug Trade, Politics and The Economy: The Colombian Experience BT – Latin America and the Multinational Drug Trade. In E. Joyce & C. Malamud (Eds.), Latin America and the Multinational Drug Trade (pp. 63–96). London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. Scholar
  17. Naím, M. (2003). The Five Wars of Globalization. Foreign Policy. Retrieved from
  18. Thoumi, F. E. (2005). The Numbers Game: Let’s All Guess the Size of the Illegal Drug Industry! Journal of Drug Issues, 35(1), 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tickner, A. B. (2015). Securitization and the Limits of Democratic Security. In D. R. Mares & A. M. Kacowicz (Eds.), Handbook of Latin American Security (pp. 67–77). Abingdon, UK/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Guerrero C.
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesInstituto Tecnológico MetropolitanoMedellínColombia

Personalised recommendations