Author brings Gangster Warlords to Brighton

Posted On 23 Feb 2016 at 1:46 pm

Lewes-born author Ioan Grillo is bringing his new book Gangster Warlords to Brighton tomorrow evening (Wednesday 24 February).

Mr Grillo, 42, who now lives in Mexico City, has covered the murderous rise of the drug cartels since the turn of the century.

His book is subtitled Drug dollars, killing fields and the new politics of Latin America.

Ioan Grillo Gangster Warlords

Somehow he manages to provide a detached overview of a vast subject in faraway lands with passionate and compassionate detailed reporting.

The audience at the Blue Man, in Queen’s Road, Brighton, can expect warmth and humour despite the horrific brutality of the subject matter.

But despite the hundreds of thousands of deaths and the frightening violence – some of which he has seen at first hand – Mr Grillo explores solutions and concludes: “I think there is always hope.”

He is quoting one of his interview subjects – and they come from all sides. He has been threatened, and given the number of journalists to have been killed in Mexico in particular, he is aware of the risks and reports with care.

Mr Grillo has already appeared on The Vote on Latest TV this week. He told the programme yesterday (Monday 22 February) about the experiences that underpinned his new book.

It was released here just over a week ago and four years after his first book El Narco looked at the rise of the drug cartels in Mexico. His new book covers a continent.

Mr Grillo remains acutely aware of the link between the casual consumption of recreational drugs in places like Brighton with the violence and death where the drugs are produced.

Even while living locally, he was aware of the high price some people paid. Four of his friends died from taking heroin in the years after he left Lewes Priory and Brighton, Hove and Sussex VI Form College (BHASVIC) but before he moved abroad.

Ioan Grillo

Ioan Grillo

He spent a stint as a porter at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Kemp Town before trying his hand at journalism.

And now he is back, briefly, seeing family and friends and promoting his book.

At the Blue Man tomorrow at 7.30pm Mr Grillo will present and discuss his new book, the drug war and the humanitarian disaster that it has unleashed.

For more information about Mr Grillo and his work, visit

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Increasingly, it appears to me that formal government is a sham. That those making laws and fighting each other for legitimised ‘power’ are indeed little more than Punch & Judy puppets in a game, a charade, a tableau.

    Looking at the blurb on Mr. Grillo’s website, I see a pointer to just how dangerous the truth IS. The world’s activity is tangibly increasingly steered (another word for governance)by organised crime, terrorist organisations and massive Corporations. I see each of these three components of that world ‘governance’ as variants/metaphors/parallels with political parties.

    Maybe we are heading to an era where instead of political parties fighting for dominance and ‘control’, we will have organised crime, terrorism and Corporations fighting each other to replace those parties. Maybe inside political parties themselves, this is already happening by a process of infiltration…. And eventually, only organised criminals, terrorists and Corporations will inhabit those parties and they will be the new Democracy to vote for….

    There you go. A plot for someone to turn into a thriller….

    • Sarah Reply

      Hi Valerie,
      I’m trying to contact you about a project I’m working on about Pierre LaRoche. Can you please email me at sarah[at]hiddenbeautypodcast[dotcom]?

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