Institutional impact of criminal networks in Colombia and Mexico


This paper explores the effects of criminal networks involved in corruption and drug trafficking on democratic formal institutions in Colombia and Mexico. The theoretical framework is sustained in the concepts of State Capture (StC) and Co-opted State Reconfiguration (CStR). Three illicit networks are analyzed: (i) The Familia Michoacana in Mexico, (ii) the Autodefensas Campesinas del Casanare (ACC) in Colombia and (iii) the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). These cases are analyzed throughout the Social Network Analysis (SNA) in order to identify (i) the hub and (ii) the structural bridge of each network. A methodological variation referenced as Social Network Analysis for Institutional Diagnosis (SNAID) is also applied, in order to analyze the institutional scope of processes of StC and CStR. Conclusions and explorative venues regarding the application of SNA and SNAID as a diagnosis tool are presented.

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  1. 1.

    As it will be explained, this province is strategic in terms of its importance in the transit of illegal drugs and its official budget.

  2. 2.

    Each node represents an individual agent, not a group. Therefore, each node will be referred as node/agent.

  3. 3.

    Colombia is divided into 32 administrative divisions, and Casanare is one of them. It is located in the eastern slopes of the Andes and is geographically a gateway to the Orinoco basin and the Venezuelan border.

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    IIC like those observed in the AUC network.


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Correspondence to Luis Jorge Garay-Salamanca.

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Garay-Salamanca, L.J., Salcedo-Albarán, E. Institutional impact of criminal networks in Colombia and Mexico. Crime Law Soc Change 57, 177–194 (2012).

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  • Social Network Analysis
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Structural Bridge
  • Direct Centrality
  • Core Node