Narcomessages as a way to analyse the evolution of organised crime in Mexico

Drug-related homicides in Mexico have increased to levels never before seen and organised crime has evolved accordingly, becoming more fragmented and diverse. This work analyses the evolution of organised crime and drug-related violence in Mexico by examining how drug trafficking organisations (DTOs) communicate through the messages left next to executed bodies from 2007 to 2011. Results suggest that the use of narcomessages has changed and developed in parallel with the evolution of organised crime. In the beginning, DTOs used their victims merely to position themselves. Over time, as the organisations became stronger, they began to direct and sign their narcomessages. By 2009, rivalries were firmly entrenched between several criminal groups, even while the increasing violence led to the creation of new groups with the stated purpose of defending citizens. The evolution of organised crime is observed by the fragmentation of existing groups, the consolidation of new alliances, and the creation of new groups.

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