Narco Noir

Mexico's Cartels, Cops, and Corruption

Vanda Felbab-Brown
Release Date: January 28, 2025

Crime and security expert Vanda Felbab-Brown conducted more than eight years of fieldwork across Mexico analyzing policy interventions in key crime and violence hotspots, as well as in control cases. The result is Narco Noir: Mexico’s Cartels, Cops, and Corruption, an extensive and unique set of organized crime case studies that include principal cases like, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Monterrey, Michoacan, and Chiapas – as well as in Mexico City.

Narco Noir provides detailed assessments of the various law enforcement strategies, socio-economic anti-crime policies, and civil society mobilization efforts in key violent hotspots. The cases cover a wide variety of crime patterns and dynamics as well as policy responses. Felbab-Brown also includes an extensive section of policy recommendations, providing a detailed analysis of how to improve law enforcement capacity and strategies, change interdiction patterns to achieve greater deterrence capacity, and restructure socio-economic anti-crime policies.

Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown, senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and co-director of Brookings project on Improving Global Drug Policy, specializes in crime and security. She is the author of Aspiration and Ambivalence: Strategies and Realities of Counterinsurgency and State-building in Afghanistan and Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs.