The Corner


Gangster Warlords and Their Chronicler

Ioan Grillo is a British journalist long resident in Mexico. He tackles the toughest, bloodiest, and most urgent issues, as can be seen in the titles of his two books: El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency and Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America. As you can tell, he is not merely looking into cuisine and dancing (pleasant as those are).

I spoke with Grillo today in Mexico City. For our Q&A podcast, go here.

He grew up near Brighton, England, where everyone took drugs — or where many did, and where many died from it, including Grillo’s friends. So, Britain was a “consuming” country. And he has devoted his career to investigating a producing and trafficking country. Obviously, he has taken risks (and I prevail on him, in our podcast, to recount one close call).

In the course of our discussion, we talk about a number of issues — Mexican, American, and Mexican-American. Throughout the world, there are many journalists who deploy their talents and take some risks to bring the rest of us vital news. Ioan Grillo is such a person.

By the way, how do you pronounce his first name? It’s Welsh — and you say “YO-in.”

P.S. Today on Need to Know, Mona Charen hosted three guys: Benjamin Wittes, David French, and me. She did it with her usual aplomb. We talk Memo, SOTU, and other matters. To hear our podcast, go here.


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