How Mexican Drug Cartels Make Billions | The War On Drugs

In the Mexican War on Drugs, the word, “cartel” gets thrown around a lot. The Sinaloa Cartel; The Gulf Cartel; La Famillia; Los Zetas.

But who actually are these organisations which have inflicted grotesque violence on Mexico - and made billions of dollars in the process? How did they grow from small smuggling gangs, to mighty empires - and then splinter into separate factions each fighting one another?

And, crucially, what role did the War on Drugs itself play in making this violence inevitable?

Correction: June 17, 2021
An earlier version of this video showed footage of the Zapatistas when referencing the Zetas.

Watch more from this series:

The Deadliest Cartel in Mexico

The Media Lies About Drugs

The Reality of Legalizing Cocaine, Heroin, and Ecstasy

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  • VICE
    VICEMonth ago

    Watch the next episode of The War on Drugs Show, looking at how the Los Zetas Cartel changed the game in the Mexican War on Drugs:

  • Sidemen Clips

    Sidemen Clips

    Month ago

  • Crazy Clan

    Crazy Clan

    Month ago


  • Marte Lind Bergsli
    Marte Lind Bergsli5 hours ago

    Legalize all drugs

  • Polly Ann
    Polly AnnDay ago

    Answer to the title. Let me guess......drugs and guns.

  • jojojorisjhjosef
    jojojorisjhjosef2 days ago

    I want to legalise coke ritually kill these narcs, like their inca ancestors did.

  • jean duran
    jean duran3 days ago

    He forgat to mention that de DEA agent enrique camarena was killed by the CIA not the cartel people killed him, he was murder because he discovered that CIA owns the drugs all over this planet.

  • Kyle Browning
    Kyle Browning3 days ago

    It’s simple.. the us and every country work with the cartels to make money because the people at the top make the money.. watch the last narco explains it all they’ll even kill their own agents to keep the secreta

  • eddd_iii666
    eddd_iii6663 days ago

    From 8K people dying every year to 35K now that’s fuckin insane.

  • eddd_iii666
    eddd_iii6664 days ago

    Free Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo ! El Padrino ! El Jefe de Jefes 🥃

  • Jason Thompson
    Jason Thompson4 days ago

    You missed a big part of the story. Jalisco new generation cartel were actually a militia wing of the Sinaloa cartel called “mata zetas” they were created to fight “los zetas”. History soon repeated itself though - and just like los zetas did with the gulf cartel, the mata zetas broke off and formed their own organisation, then to become sworn enemies with their former “employers” the Sinaloa cartel.

  • Travers Niemi
    Travers Niemi4 days ago

    The picture inside the TV ruins this for me. Don't fucking do this. I'm watching on a phone my picture is small enough as it is and then you condense it into a micro TV I'm not going to watch it now

  • Daily Orange Pill
    Daily Orange Pill4 days ago

    HSBC Bank involved in money laundering for the Cartel.

  • No Name
    No Name4 days ago

    "How Mexican Drug Cartels Make Billions" they sell drugs duh

  • Gadgets Addict
    Gadgets Addict6 days ago

    Why do your videos look like they were shot in 1980?

  • Isabel Junker
    Isabel Junker7 days ago

    How Vice makes millions from morbid stories for morbid people??

  • Drew Tice
    Drew Tice8 days ago

    Drugs only get stronger, cheaper, more available, and end up killing more people both from direct drug use or cartel violence.. What a success.

  • Drew Tice
    Drew Tice8 days ago

    Go watch Narcos Mexico, it goes into how Miguel Gallardo and Quintero built up their whole cartel by uniting all the "plazas" into one cartel, how they secured the coke deal with the columbians and all the subsequent in-fighting.. fucking really well done show. It even shows the Americans secret but sorta bumbling revenge team they sent b/c of Camarena.

  • Jeff Kotasek
    Jeff Kotasek8 days ago

    Zetas have put out snuff films of torture and beheadings.

  • mo z
    mo z8 days ago


  • Njuru Mwangi
    Njuru Mwangi8 days ago

    Vice being Vice 💯

  • D J
    D J8 days ago

    And now that they have an agreement with the biden crime family money is flowing like the Rio grande

  • Jose Ayala
    Jose Ayala9 days ago

    The DEA ordered kikis death and the fbi

  • Jose Ayala

    Jose Ayala

    9 days ago

    Never ending drug trade for a reason everyone co operates

  • daniel cervantes
    daniel cervantes9 days ago

    As long as the US stays the as the #1 consumer , my parents land will never witness peace

  • gbd 2480

    gbd 2480

    4 days ago

    A lot of distinctional people depending on man made drugs

  • Gregg Whipple
    Gregg Whipple10 days ago

    Joe Biden is helping them make money. Create a problem so you can half ass fix it.

  • E Swizzle
    E Swizzle10 days ago

    Seriously tho who’s curious what a legit key bump of Mexican marching powder will do to ya

  • Jim Horan
    Jim Horan10 days ago

    That’s why we need a 50 foot wall with armed guards

  • Mr Drank
    Mr Drank11 days ago

    RIP don Hector y don Eladio 😮‍💨🥺

  • Oscar Duarte
    Oscar Duarte11 days ago

    All you gringos sniffing coke at your hipster parties, you have blood on your hands.

    GHOST DOG11 days ago

    Cartels work side by side with the FBI, CIA, ATF and every other organization out there.. when agendas need to be pushed they called the cartels. #Monopoly

  • Alexander
    Alexander12 days ago

    they make milions because both mexican and american government allows it, helps it, suport it etc

  • Timon Bailey
    Timon Bailey12 days ago

    Bro its the same as selling potatoes

  • MrCowabungaDude
    MrCowabungaDude12 days ago

    I like Mexican marijuana, better than white-washed versions of what real weed used to make you feel. I'm not a crackhead, but when I was younger for the first time the Acapulco Gold got me sleeping for out the whole day almost. I was faced into the couch sleeping, really I was too young to stay up and laugh at stuff. I was wreck'd high. I didn't even know if anyone knew I was high off my booty, I was sooooo tired. The weed isn't the same anymore. Now they smoke crack level weed that is borderline narcotic. I tried my recreational smoke weed, and I was hyper-sensitive to everything. My environment instantly turned threatening because I wasn't smoking mid to low weed. It's all the same now, no matter if they call it indica or sativa. They're selling placebo and it all effects the brain the same. That type of weed isn't medical level. Old school weed is more illegal then, since crack is legalized. Acapulco Gold, Northern Lights, Tie'd Stick, Mauí Wowwie, Crippy, Hydro those are the weeds that are legally medical but highly illegal being sold on street, because it's to save he distributor from some corrupt recycling system going on in the USA with meth-labs and dusty-bud growers capitalizing on the stigma of what marijuana has on a curious music listner. Drug runners in the USA are greedy money launders taking their ventures for business to an almost extremist level. It's stupid because now medical will never be free in the USA. Thanks USA drug diluters and runners. Now I don't even want none of it.

  • Its Tony
    Its Tony12 days ago

    They blamed Rafael caro quintero for Enrique “kiki” murder

  • prat 667

    prat 667

    8 days ago

    Who actually killed him

  • _M0S


    9 days ago

    You watch a lot of TV.

  • akhtar nawaz
    akhtar nawaz12 days ago

    It wouldn't surprise me it's actually the government from both countries doing some of the killings from Mexico and the Americans so they can turn on each other

  • Brian Pitpurka
    Brian Pitpurka13 days ago

    El mayo is the only guy who you can say is the boss of bosses everyone thinks el chapo was the main guy el chapo was working for el mayo. Definitely a big player dont get me wrong but el mayo had the final word. And el mayo is still living free

  • Dercio Silveira
    Dercio Silveira13 days ago


  • lois young
    lois young14 days ago

    If the US ended the war on drugs the violence would stop.

  • t millz
    t millz14 days ago

    Legalize all drugs

  • The Silver Ninja
    The Silver Ninja15 days ago

    I actually read Ioan Grillo's book, El Narco. Extremely informative read on how the cartel works. It has some gruesome, gruesome descriptions but it is as authentic as it gets.

  • Promotingnwo Fivehundredmill
    Promotingnwo Fivehundredmill15 days ago

    Vice is C.I.A

  • Ed Chez
    Ed Chez16 days ago

    Poor Mexico! So far from God and so close to the United States! -- Porfirio Diaz

  • Chema
    Chema16 days ago

    Ronald Reagan was a poor illiterate misanthrope, white and supremacist without much brain ... His rudimentary intelligence made him think that drugs should be fought with firearms ... The thing is that humanity has been drugged and drunk since the beginning of the times and that it will continue to do so ... As if that were not enough, drug trafficking is a business of international bankers and politicians.

  • Matty Morris
    Matty Morris16 days ago

    Narco Mexico on Netflix is a good show about all this

  • seasidegalaxystreet
    seasidegalaxystreet16 days ago

    The only options left are global warming to wipe it all out or the use of nuclear.

  • Ken Merrill
    Ken Merrill17 days ago

    Your accent sounds like a feminine Australian.... what are you trying to sound like?

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    I think this pandemic has taught people the importance of multiple streams of income, unfortunately having a job doesn't mean security rather having different investments is the real deal....

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    INFINITYKING18 days ago

    Some of this info is wrong chapo was not running anything he just moved coke el Mayo actually ran the cartel the CIA killed keke and blamed it on the cartels to have the ability too kill or arrest the leaders

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  • Teddy
    Teddy18 days ago

    We'd like to congratulate drugs for winning the war on drugs.

  • Thomas Benton
    Thomas Benton19 days ago

    If you want one of the most revealing looks into the cartels in Mexico check out a man named O.G Shadow on USplan. This man has literally risked his life and the life of every family member to bring the real scoop on these murderous thugs.

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  • Adrian Mtz
    Adrian Mtz19 days ago

    So eventual legalization is the way?

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  • TH C
    TH C20 days ago

    Yall are stupid posting a clip from mexican police as if they are the bad guys

  • عبد الحكيم
    عبد الحكيم20 days ago

    Interview with Ex-Cartel member 👇🏻

  • Laretthe Animo
    Laretthe Animo20 days ago

    Pls.pray the rosary to free all countries from war, diseases, calamitìes, hunger, corruption, drugs, abortion, divorce, climate change.pray for peace and joy in all families and home..

  • davidtsw
    davidtsw20 days ago

    How long till the governments realize that the only way to stop this is to legalize drugs...

  • Reaper
    Reaper21 day ago

    1:13 The guy with the glasses already knew it wouldnt work lmao

  • Dog fam Clever
    Dog fam Clever21 day ago

    Pura gente de Ivan !!!!

  • Idont Giveafck
    Idont Giveafck22 days ago

    More Cartel Stuff pls, good content

  • Umar Virk
    Umar Virk22 days ago

    pretty close to the old vice, great stuff

  • Callum Callaghan
    Callum Callaghan22 days ago

    Upper class white guy who does coke most weekends is telling me about the origins of cocaine...

  • Mico Skl
    Mico Skl22 days ago

    If there is a demand there is a supply

  • Lil ray
    Lil ray22 days ago

    Damn they make billions!!! I guess if the government actually up the minimum wage to $50 dollars an hour, maybe people would get a 9-5 job 🤔... and yet some people wonder why unemployment rate is so high

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    Xeo Poo23 days ago

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  • Tim M
    Tim M23 days ago

    There are several problems with this episode. Look it over. They are problems stemming from, in my estimation, people putting together information without researching what they are talking about well enough, and also people working on this who are too young to understand certain aspects of past situations. With that said, I consider Vice News to be a trusted news source for me.

  • Tim M
    Tim M23 days ago

    The drug trade keeps U.S. jails full. The US likes to put everyone in jail. They haven't tried very hard to stamp out the drug trade and it seems like that's part of the reason.

  • dread knot
    dread knot24 days ago

    watching breaking bad right now

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    jesse orozco-abarca24 days ago


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  • Limerick's Finest
    Limerick's Finest24 days ago

    Maybe murica should try and tackle it's insatiable appetite for class A narcotics instead of selling guns all over South America

  • Bannedone 3ice
    Bannedone 3ice25 days ago

    Why US hasn’t brought Democracy there??? Point to ponder 🤔

  • Unregistered Gamer

    Unregistered Gamer

    23 days ago

    No money. Or at least not enough to make back what was used. Plus the only power we could realistically have is through the government the same government that had been bought out years ago. Not to mention the impossible terrain to traverse thick jungles and desert in one area city and town's in the other. Plus U.S just pulled out of Iraq the American people aren't exactly to eager to get back into war

  • JuiceCrew Tv
    JuiceCrew Tv25 days ago

    school shooter vibes 👀

  • Juan Patino
    Juan Patino25 days ago

    Y’all bums el chapo wasn’t the leader of the Sinaloa cartel

  • Netflix Prime
    Netflix Prime25 days ago

    legalize all drugs, simple solution

  • Sharon Montano
    Sharon Montano26 days ago

    Cartel Guadalajara Nueva Generación El Mencho!

  • TodayFreedom
    TodayFreedom26 days ago

    The only way to defeat what has become “a nation within a nation” is to use extra-judicial techniques. You can’t defeat psychopathic monsters with court cases and jail sentences. Wipe them out. Iran has the right idea: get caught dealing drugs and you get the noose.

  • Suh Dude
    Suh Dude26 days ago

    Fvck government, let people be 😤

  • Stevie Wonders
    Stevie Wonders26 days ago

    You get the intelligence agencies of foreign countries to work with you.

  • Luis Calvillo
    Luis Calvillo26 days ago

    Ustedes gringos nunca dejan de hacer reportajes y artículos sobre drogas, pero tampoco nunca dejan de consumirlas

  • Микаел Барнет
    Микаел Барнет26 days ago

    Why are you guys just repacking your old content

  • B Smith
    B Smith27 days ago

    They said cartel was a made up word but they call the gangs cartels several times.😂 What the hell is up with that F'ed up haircut soy boy?

  • Jesus Orozco
    Jesus Orozco27 days ago

    This is so misinformed. Btw Scarface was Cuban and hated Colombians lol

  • Anthony Nick
    Anthony Nick28 days ago


  • Angel Vasquez
    Angel Vasquez28 days ago

    Chapo was never a boss he was just what the media will show you. The real boss it s Mayo

  • Omkar Chandra
    Omkar Chandra29 days ago

    Unpopular opinion: The "burrr burrr" sound is annoying.

  • Himanshu singh
    Himanshu singh29 days ago

    We need to save this guy at all cost


    Crime does not pay GOOD CITIZENS DUE THERE PART

  • J L
    J L29 days ago

    Do a fact check. Lots of errors. Listen to Ed Calderon for the real deal.

  • AlphaMegaTron
    AlphaMegaTron29 days ago

    These human scum cartels need to be eradicated with extreme prejudice..they are worst of the worst

  • Kae Pugna
    Kae PugnaMonth ago

    How? By way of governments.

  • Salvador Delgado
    Salvador DelgadoMonth ago

    We now know the C.I.A killed the D.E.A agent camarena . And cia is the U.S very own cartel .

  • Jmerca 10
    Jmerca 10Month ago

    The cause of the drug problem is the people who consume the drugs. No demand no need to supply.

  • Vishu
    VishuMonth ago

    America still don't need wall , right Democrat's?

  • Vishu
    VishuMonth ago


  • Ronnie Iba
    Ronnie IbaMonth ago

    You should do a video about Cherán. It's a small indigenous town in Mexico that during the peak of the drug war in Michoacan, they kicked out members of La Familia and Los Caballeros Temprlarios, the government and policemen. It's a beautiful, interesting and inspirational case.

  • m*nkey_MnXxX People-are-Kind
    m*nkey_MnXxX People-are-KindMonth ago

    war on poverty! war on homelessness! war on corruption! war on injustice! war on unfair justice system! NOT WAR on Drugs! addiction is a mental health issue not a crime!

  • LazyLion
    LazyLionMonth ago

    I learned all of this already by playing Ghost Recon Wildlands

  • Red Dawn 1
    Red Dawn 1Month ago

    Umm why would the drugs stop ? Guessing ur idea is to legalize everything except guns lol

  • Henry Parent
    Henry ParentMonth ago

    There making drugs to bring here thanks to joe b opening the Border. An Weapons are comeing to an you want to take are gun.that will be the day.

  • 私と一緒にいて
    私と一緒にいてMonth ago

    Just remember who was the rich drug lord and transport coke to Florida was Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria

  • Charles Snortley
    Charles SnortleyMonth ago

    USPS was the biggest dealer during coronavirus.