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.


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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Europe’s Guns: A Threat and Opportunity the UK Can’t Ignore

31 Jan, 2023
Sean Lundy

The senseless shooting of Elle Edwards on Christmas Eve shocked the UK. Similar tragedies in the UK often have their origins in the supply of illicit firearms from Europe. To stem and turn the tide against gun violence, we must look towards Europe. In 5 years as the National Crime…

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Replacing Armed Governance: the Challenge of ‘Total Peace’ in Colombia

18 Jan, 2023
Reynell Badillo Sarmiento, Juan Corredor-Garcia and Luis Fernando Trejos Rosero

Contrary to common thought, warzones are not always disorderly scenarios without rules. In most cases, the ways in which citizens must behave in a warzone to avoid being punished is very clear. However, in these afflicted territories it is often the armed groups, and not the states, who largely determine…

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Rescue or Risk: ‘Volunteerism’ and Human Trafficking Risks in Ukraine

3 Jan, 2023
Iisa Kosonen and Mark Williams

The Russia-Ukraine war has spurred, alongside a rise in escaping refugees to neighbouring countries, an increase in ad-hoc volunteerism through ‘at the border’ aid agencies. Often lacking formal identification or supervision, there is increased potential that the presence of these entities increases the risk of human trafficking as the war…

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