The US government’s cocaine interdiction mission in the transit zone of Central America is now in its fifth decade despite its long-demonstrated ineffectiveness, both in cost and results. We developed a model that builds an interdisciplinary understanding of the structure and function of narco-trafficking networks and their coevolution with interdiction efforts as a complex adaptive system. The model produced realistic predictions of where and when narco-traffickers move in and around Central America in response to interdiction. The model demonstrated that narco-trafficking is as widespread and difficult to eradicate as it is because of interdiction, and increased interdiction will continue to spread traffickers into new areas, allowing them to continue to move drugs north.
Modeling cocaine traffickers and counterdrug interdiction forces as a complex adaptive system
Nicholas R. Magliocca, Kendra McSweeney, Steven E. Sesnie, Elizabeth Tellman, Jennifer A. Devine, Erik A. Nielsen, Zoe Pearson, and David J. Wrathall
PNAS published ahead of print April 1, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1812459116