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Gabriella Sanchez

Assistant Professor of Security Studies and Associate Director for Research at The University of Texas El Paso's National Security Studies Institute


Dr. Gabriella E. Sanchez (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is a faculty member of the National Security Studies Institute at the University of Texas El Paso. She specializes in the study of the social organization of transnational criminal groups. Her work has primarily examined human smuggling and drug trafficking facilitators, their interactions with other criminal organizations and their decision making processes.  Prior to arriving at UTEP she was an assistant professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC, research fellow at Monash University’s Border Crossing Observatory in Melbourne, Australia, visiting lecturer at Wellesley College, and a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Maryland’s Consortium for the Study of Terrorism (START).  Dr. Sanchez was also the recipient of a US State Department Boren National Security Fellowship and is Fulbright scholar, opportunities that allowed her to conducted research on smuggling organizations in North Africa and the Middle East. 
A socio-cultural anthropologist by training, Dr. Sanchez has completed extensive ethnographic research on smuggling and trafficking hubs in over 20 countries. Her book “Human Smuggling and Border Crossings” (Routledge, 2015) was the result of her work among human and drug smuggling facilitators on the US Mexico Border, and was a finalist of the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime 2015 Book of the Year Award. Her current project explores the triggers for market diversification among drug and human smuggling groups on the US Mexico Border, including the participation of minors as guides or carriers.  A former criminal investigator, she also has extensive experience as a consultant for US federal and state agencies and global NGOs.