The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
An increase in demand for opiates in the United States and dwindling revenue in the marijuana trade has seen Mexican cartels become increasingly involved in poppy cultivation and heroin production, a trend that is seemingly supported by US interdiction statistics.
The US DEA's top official has claimed criminal organizations from Mexico are "setting up shop" in the states of Washington and Colorado following marijuana legalization, a politically charged statement that fails to give a full picture of the situation.
In an interview with a prominent Mexican newspaper, former Mexico President Vicente Fox proposes a number of potentially controversial approaches to solving Mexico's organized crime problem, explaining why the legalization of marijuana and allowing former criminals to become legitimate "businessmen" is the best way forward.
Uruguay's president says marijuana plants with a traceable genetic code will be grown on military land, a step intended to help prevent criminal exploitation of legal crops and alleviate pressure from opponents of the country's legalization move.
Peru plans to dedicate $300 million to anti-drug efforts in 2014, showing the country's commitment to diminishing its role in the cocaine trade, though the sum is small when compared with the amount of money that has been poured into similar efforts in neighboring Colombia over past years.
The United Nations has attacked moves towards liberalizing drug laws in its annual narcotics control report, arguing such measures would have grave social and economic costs without significantly undermining organized crime.
Argentina has approved the creation of a special unit to facilitate the fight against drug trafficking as the government looks to tackle the rapid evolution and growing sophistication of the country's drug trade.
Jamaica plans to decriminalize marijuana before the end of the year, bringing it in line with many of its Latin American neighbors, but raising the question of what effect this might have on its significant illegal export market.
Lawmakers in Mexico City have submitted proposed legislation that would decriminalize marijuana use in the capital, an initiative that has drawn praise from regional leaders but also raises questions about the effects of such a move.
Honduras' new government has lauded increased arrests and drug seizures under the new president's hardline security policy, although reports that the country's prisons generate $180 million in illegal annual earnings serve as a reminder of the negative effects filling prisons can have.