The Informer

The Informer blog provides a platform for academics, policymakers and practitioners to discuss their work and research and to share their opinions on organised crime.

We collaborate with the European Consortium for Political Research’s Standing Group on Organised Crime (ECPR-SGOC), one of the standing groups of the ECPR. The editorial board includes representatives from the University of Bath, Oxford University, the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Sao Paulo, Sofia University and Flinders University.


The Counterfeit Revolution and the Global Rise of Authoritarianism

10 Aug, 2023
Dr Chamila Liyanage

The inherent criminality of authoritarianism may be consolidating the business model of global counterfeiting.  On a sunny day in the capital of the newly bankrupt Sri Lanka, university students were on the march against the regime thought to be behind rampant corruption. Some students’ t-shirts read bold signs, others sporting…

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Organised Crime as a Proxy: When Criminals meet Rogue States and Actors in Latin America

1 Aug, 2023
Martin Verrier

Over the last three decades, the use of Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) groups in Latin America as foreign actor’s proxies, for financial, operational and para-diplomatic reasons, has become increasingly evident. While criminal convergence among SOC groups has been widely studied, the growing convergence between SOC groups and both foreign…

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Synthetic Opioid’s North American Footprint: Assessing the Likelihood of the Fentanyl Crisis Engulfing Europe

18 Jul, 2023
Carolina Tellez

This blog is the 2023 winner of the Bill Tupman Prize, submitted in partnership with the ECPR-SGOG Summer School. Since 2013, the synthetic opioid crisis has cast a long and tragic shadow over the United States (US), causing over 70,601 overdose deaths in 2022. The rapid and unrelenting spread of fentanyl…

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On the Same Page? Understanding ‘Ungoverned Areas’ in US doctrine in Latin America

19 Jun, 2023
Carlos Alberto Barrera Franco

To best counter the threat of organised crime originating from tough-to-reach areas, Latin American and US policymakers and officials need to come to a common understanding on ‘ungoverned areas’ and how they can best collaborate to address the threat.  Current Context Over the past few years, statements made by civilian…

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Criminal Structures in Argentina: Family clans and the PCC Threat

15 Jun, 2023
Damian Gariglio

Due to the fragmentation of drugs markets and the adoption of less centralised criminal structures, transnational organised crime has spread throughout Latin American countries. In Argentina, organised crime has taken a particular form, different to the archetypical drug cartels that operated in Colombia or Mexico in the 1990s or at…

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Sicariato and Latin American Illicit Orders: A Research Imperative

24 May, 2023
Ludmila Quirós

Over the last decade, the proliferation of illicit orders in many Latin American cities has promoted the emergence of parallel punishment systems. These systems – I term ‘Sicariato’ – have become a regular conflict resolution mechanism between criminal and non-criminal actors. This piece draws from topics explored in depth in…

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Criminals or Rebels? The Role of Definitions in Colombian Peace

28 Mar, 2023
Reynell Badillo Sarmiento and Luis Fernando Trejos Rosero

In an attempt to demobilise armed groups in Colombia, President Gustavo Petro’s government implemented the policy of ‘Total Peace’ (Paz Total). Petro’s strategy looks to political negotiations and settlements to draw Colombia’s long-running civil conflicts to an end. However, the government’s selective and inconsistent definition of who constitutes a ‘political’…

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The Silent ‘Ndrangheta in the Northeast of Italy: Insights from Operation Taurus

21 Mar, 2023
Marco Codispoti

New autonomous criminal entities and mafia gangs, known as ‘Ndrine, have gained independence whilst still carrying their predecessors’ ruthless reputations. Information unearthed from successful Antimafia operations now demonstrates how these new mafia gangs are using the coercive, so-called ‘mafia method’ in new ventures – such as VAT Fraud – whilst…

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A Conversation with Carlos: Former Member of the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC)

16 Mar, 2023
Camila Nunes Dias

The emergence of modern Brazilian criminal organisations can be traced back to the boom in incarceration and prison overcrowding in the 1990s. During this period, important changes were forged within prison spaces including the emergence of prison groups that, years later, would become criminal organisations. This development reconfigured local criminal…

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The ‘Global Power Competition – Transnational Organised Crime’ Nexus: Lessons from Michoacán

7 Mar, 2023
Fausto Carbajal Glass

How does strategic competition between the United States and China influence the evolution of transnational organised crime in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)? Although it is becoming increasingly visible, the “global power competition – transnational organised crime’ nexus remains unexplored in national and international scholarship as well as in…

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