Hyper-Modern, Hyper-Adaptive—and Deadly

Transnational criminal networks have evolved with a complexity that outstrips current institutional capacities, investigative tools, and judicial systems.

Imagine that your son or brother has joined a protest against government corruption. During the demonstration, police arrive and force them onto a bus. You rush to the site of the event; you ask about him, but no one tells you anything. You keep searching, your anxiety mounting because you know the depth of the corruption in the city: police and the mayor often collaborate with local drug traffickers. You comfort yourself, remembering that your son or brother was with a large crowd. As the days pass, however, you realize that they weren’t taken into custody by the police; your son or brother has vanished. Two, then three, years pass, and you’re told that it’s too dangerous to keep looking, because “important” people were involved—the mayor, in fact, may have ordered local drug traffickers to kidnap the demonstrators.