The Mob Museum Launches New Exhibition – “Rise of the Cartels: International Drug Trafficking in the Americas”

The Mob Museum Launches New Exhibition - "Rise of the Cartels: International Drug Trafficking in the Americas"

The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, announces a new temporary exhibition titled “Rise of the Cartels: International Drug Trafficking in the Americas.” The exhibition is located on The Mob Museum’s first-floor.

The exhibition explores the history of international drug trafficking in North and South America, providing insights about infamous drug lords such as Pablo Escobar as well as an architectural model of the Mexican prison and tunnels tracing the escape route for drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. It also examines fact versus fiction in the popular Netflix television series “Narcos” and “Narcos: Mexico.”

The exhibition features artifacts on loan from four different retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) special agents who battled the cartels in Colombia and Mexico from the 1970s through the 1990s. Select artifacts on display were provided by two former agents, Steve Murphy and Javier Pena, who helped take down Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar and whose work inspired the “Narcos” series.

These artifacts include original documents, photos, badges, awards, clothing, a firearm and other objects directly tied to the agents’ battles with drug cartels. Additionally, a video montage will feature original photographs from Murphy and Pena’s personal collection.

Other artifacts were provided by former special agents James “Jaime” Kuykendall and Pedro “Pete” Hernandez, who were stationed in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the 1980s and worked closely with special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed by Mexican cartel members in 1985. Kuykendall is a major character in “Narcos: Mexico.”

The exhibition also will feature artifacts from the Museum’s collection, including a rare original copy of a commemorative leather-bound book of political cartoons that Escobar published not long before his death.

To plan a visit and purchase tickets in advance or for information about the Museum’s current health and safety protocols, visit

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