There are three ways to join the drug cartels – by choice, by force, or in spirit. Thousands freely choose to work for the half dozen or so major drug cartels in Mexico and for the hundreds of smaller, independent drug gangs because it’s their only chance to get rich – or simply make a living. Many others are recruited at the point of a gun, knowing that to refuse is to die.
But tens of thousands, on both sides of the border, join up in spirit, emulating the way the narcos dress, speak, party – and flout the law. They dance to the same music, deck themselves out in the same flashy bling, and speed wildly around in the same oversized rides they’ve seen in the narco movies.