Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Drug traffickers are typically depicted in Hollywood movies as larger-than-life people whose elaborate schemes move enormous amounts of drugs across international borders. Despite, and sometimes because of, governmental interventions, these kinds of drug traffickers do exist, but from a law enforcement perspective, drug trafficking can refer to almost any act that facilitates the distribution of an illegal substance, from the biggest drug cartels to the smallest “mule” to the lowliest street-level seller. Our knowledge about upper-level traffickers has been largely confined to first-person accounts written by retired traffickers and descriptions provided by law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration ( ) or the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( ). Because of the difficulty of gaining access to upper-level drug traffickers, there has been little academic research on this topic that does not rely upon “official” data sources. There has been, however, a considerable amount of ...