skip navigation


Abstract Database

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

To download this abstract, check the box next to the NCJ number then click the "Back To Search Results" link. Then, click the "Download" button on the Search Results page. Also see the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 212712 Find in a Library
Title: Mexican American Youth and Adult Prison Gangs in a Changing Heroin Market
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:35  Issue:4  Dated:Fall 2005  Pages:843-868
Author(s): Avelardo Valdez
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 26
Document: DOC
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study focused on the interaction between juvenile and adult prison gangs and drug markets in the larger community, with attention to the process that leads to specific adverse consequences, both to the juvenile gangs as organizations and to individual members.
Abstract: The study examined heroin use and dealing among Mexican-Americans in San Antonio, TX. The research evolved from a study of gang violence among Mexican-American gangs in South Texas, which sought to identify and distinguish the relationship between gang violence and drug use among male gangs. Study methods included ethnographic field observations, focus groups, and life history/intensive interviews with 160 male gang members. The study addressed areas of the city with the highest concentration of delinquent behavior and Mexican-American gang activity as well as underclass characteristics. The study showed how a Mexican-American adult prison gang had dominated the heroin market and other street-based drug sellers and dealers such as youth gangs. A major consequence of this circumstance has been the increasing use of heroin among Mexican-American gang members and the transformation of many of these gangs from autonomous youth gangs to extensions of the adult prison gangs. This has been most likely to occur in specific areas identified by adult prison gangs as their territories, notably around public housing projects where recently released offenders are living. A few juvenile gangs were able to maintain their autonomy either by not selling heroin or by resisting through violence. Based on these findings, the researchers concur with gang researchers who have argued that juvenile gangs have a "negligible role" in drug distributions. 49 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile gang behavior patterns
Index Term(s): Drug smuggling; Heroin; Hispanic gangs; Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Texas
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.