Similar to TLAD's Gang Warfare, Drug Wars is introduced to Luis by Armando after completing the mission "Corner Kids". Their starting locations are marked on the map by pill icons. They become progressively more difficult, but the money earned increases as well. Every 10 Drug Wars completed gives the player a weapon in Luis Lopez' Northwood Apartment. Completing 25 Drug Wars will raise the player's completion percentage and also unlock the "Snow Queen" achievement/trophy.
The Drug Wars are infinite - even after completing 50 of them the players can still play the missions; this was likely made by Rockstar to provide players with playable activity after the primary story missions and other side-missions, required for completion percentage, as well as the ability to earn in-game cash for weapons and the like.
Drop off locations
The drop off area will be the same location according to the borough where the mission started:
- Dukes or Bohan - Cerveza Heights, Dukes. Exactly in the same location of Huang Lee's first safehouse in GTA: Chinatown Wars.
- Algonquin - Purgatory, Algonquin. Over Union Drive West.
- Alderney - Korea Town, Alderney. Right behind the Mr. Fuk's Rice Box, at the intersection of Lyndon Avenue and Boyden Avenue.
Drug War enemies
There are 6 different gangs Luis, Armando and Henrique will attempt to rob. Each of these gangs drive their vehicles with unique paintjobs usually reminiscent of the gang's colors.
- The Chinese Triads (Jaoming, Lee, and Ming crime families/syndicates)
- The Italian Mafia (Gambetti, Pavano, Messina, Lupisella, Ancelotti, and Pegorino crime families/syndicates)
- The Jamaican Yardies
- The Korean Mob
- The Russian Mafia (Petrovic, Faustin, Bulgarin, and Rascalov crime families/syndicates)
- The Spanish Lords
Completing Drug Wars will reward Luis with weapons which will spawn at his safehouse.
- 10 Wars completed: A Pistol .44 spawns on the coffee table of Luis' safehouse. The weapon spawns after completing the mission “Boulevard Baby” and the necessary Drug Wars.
- 20 Wars completed: An Advanced Machine Gun (M249) spawns in the kitchen of Luis' safehouse. The weapon spawns after completing the mission “Going Deep” and the necessary Drug Wars.
- 25 Wars completed: The 'Snow Queen' achievement/trophy, worth 20G for the Xbox 360 and a bronze trophy for the PS3, is unlocked.
- 30 Wars completed: An Automatic Shotgun (AA-12), loaded with green explosive shells, spawns in the kitchen of Luis' safehouse. The weapon spawns after completing the mission “High Dive” and the necessary Drug Wars.
- 40 Wars completed: Sticky Bombs spawn on the coffee table of Luis' safehouse. The weapon spawns after completing the mission “Bang Bang” and the necessary Drug Wars.
- 50 Wars completed: A Gold SMG spawns on the dining table of Luis' safehouse. The weapon spawns after completing the mission “Departure Time” and the necessary Drug Wars.
Drug War variations
- Hijack: These missions require the player to steal a stationary drug loaded vehicle, often located within a drug gang's compound. These are the only time a police sting can be encountered. These often require the player to eliminate the drug gang in order to safely steal the vehicle. If no-one is protecting the vehicle, the player gets 2-5 star wanted level and must evade it. These vehicles vary from sports cars, boats, and helicopters.
- Convoy: These missions require the player to steal a moving drug vehicle, usually protected by trailing vehicles as part of a convoy. Once the attack on the vehicle begins the drug vehicle will attempt to speed away and its escorts will attack Luis and his friends. The player must take care not to destroy the vehicle, otherwise the drugs are destroyed with it, failing the mission. However, as long as the enemies are driving the drug vehicle, it is invulnerable and can't be set on fire; only the passengers can be shot down. Convoys consist of cars and boats.
- Stickup: These missions require the player to crash a drug deal between two gangs. The player must obtain a gang's drugs, and optionally the other gang's money with the drugs in a duffel bag carried by one of the gang, in their compound. The player must eliminate the gang one by one until the drugs are dropped, and continue to kill enemies until the one carrying the money meant of the deal drops it, which Armando or Henrique will comment on. On harder missions the dealers will attempt to escape, and if they do, the mission is failed. Occasionally, the two gangs can be made to fight each other when the initial attack is done while out of sight, such as with a sniper from a distance. One gang member will drop body armor as a pickup when killed.
- Stash: These missions require the player to steal a gang's drug stash, which is located within their perimeter.
All types will involve the gang chasing the player whilst driving to the drop off point. If the player moves too far from the drugs, or the dealers holding the drugs escape, the mission is failed.
Tips and Tricks
- Once you have the drugs, immediately leave the scene and return the product. There is no bonus for killing the remaining gang members, and continuing to fight may attract unwanted police attention.
- If things get too heated after you have the drugs, you can leave without Armando and Henrique. After you get far enough away, they will spawn in a car behind you and follow. They'll even fire at pursuing enemies.
- The black Cavalcade that spawns in the beginning of each individual mission is armoured; it can withstand an insane amount of gunfire, which is useful for dealing with enemies that are chasing and firing at you as you try to return the drug load. You may also use the Cavalcade as heavy cover during the fight, keep it for your own use after the Drug War or use it again in another Drug War.
- In later missions, enemies will begin to throw Molotov Cocktails. Watch out for these people, as they can hit you and the guys with unerring accuracy, but can be used to your advantage as they also tend to hit their own men as well and even commit suicide.
- A very easy way to finish drug wars is to use any vehicle that has lots of health and built-in weapons, for example, the APC is very durable as it takes a lot of continuous shooting to destroy or the Buzzard with miniguns and missiles, but it is only effective in the stash or the stickup because you have to hijack vehicles on the other missions.
- Whenever there are multiple pursuing cars after you, use sticky bombs to kill them off quicker.
- An alternate strategy for disposing of the pursuing cars is to exit your getaway car and fire a few explosive shells from your shotgun, this allows for more accuracy and may save ammunition.
- When you first pull up to the drug location, try to get the jump on them by using the gang's cars against them, one rocket, or a well thrown grenade/sticky bomb can take out 2-10 gang members in one shot, making easier for you to grab the drugs and escape (Note: this method can only be used in The Stash or The Stickup Drug Wars as it doesn't matter if you destroy gang vehicles).
- At number 35 and higher, Drug War gang members are very tough and can take a large amount of bodily hits before being killed, so it is best to aim for the head, as one shot will kill them.
- If the hijack mission requires you to steal a helicopter, pursuing enemies will chase you in helicopters. For an easier escape, land and destroy the enemy helicopter with an explosive weapon.
- When you get close to the gang take them out from far away with the Advanced Sniper and pick them off one by one and don't worry if they get to close to you because Armando and Henrique will kill them.
- During The Stickup, the two gangs will sometimes attack each other. This can be used to your advantage, as they will be busy fighting themselves, greatly reducing the amount of firepower that is targeting you and can allow you to pick up a dropped stash without being targeted.
- During The Convoy or The Highjack missions, if by any chance the target vehicle gets heavily damaged (popped tires, undrivable due of car deformation, getting lot of smoke, etc.) and the player eliminated the driver, get into the car so the drop off location appears. Then get out and, in an area with enough cover, destroy any pursing gang car (these are not infinite, usually 3 to 4). When everything's clear, grab another vehicle nearby the target car (make sure both Armando and Henrique survive). If everything is done correctly, Henrique will get into the target car and follow you all the way to the drop point, in spite of the heavy damage in the car. When the player reaches the drop off location, get into the target car, drive into the spot and complete the mission.
- If the player encounters the police sting in a Hijack mission when the target vehicle is a Mule, the player should get in to trigger the wanted level and immediately get off and board any faster vehicle he arrives to clear the wanted level. The Mule is a slow, cumbersome truck that will make harder to shake off the cops, especially in high star levels, and it is quite probable the police might wreck the vehicle with gunfire or with the constant ramming, causing the mission to fail.
- An easy way to finish The Convoy and Hijack missions without persuing cars is to trigger a wanted level, once you have entered the required vehicle or shortly before. Enemy cars will not spawn while the wanted level is active (at least in the PC version). Once you are near the drop point, escape the cops and you should not encounter enemies until you are through with the mission or are at least able to ignore them, because you or the vehicle won't take too serious damage.
- An easy way to finish Stickup and Stash missions is to head for the water, once you have obtained the product. Enemies will only spawn in cars for missions that don't involve boats or helicopters, so you can't be hit, as soon as you are far enough from land. Then swim to the nearest boat location and drive the boat to a comfortable helicopter spot, like the one in Alderney City and access the drop point via helicopter. Or if near, swim directly to the closest helicopter location. Either way, this strategy may require long swims with some missions.
Unique Paint jobs
Most of the cars seen during the Drug Wars have exclusive paint jobs:
|Ultra Blue Poly (Primary)|
Formula Red (Pearlescent)
|Light Blue Grey (Primary)|
Steel Gray Poly (Secondary)
Black Poly (Secondary)
Torch Red (Pearlescent)
Securicar Dark Green (Secondary)
Frost White (Pearlescent)
Race Yellow Solid (Car4)
|Brt. Currant Red Poly (Primary)|
Pastel Alabaster (Secondary)
Those paint jobs are used on: Buffalo, Super GT, Bullet GT, Dinghy, Huntley Sport, Sultan, Sultan RS, Presidente, Blista Compact, Tampa, Comet, Super Diamond, Banshee, F620, Voodoo, Uranus LOZSPEED and so on.
Obtaining vehicles with unique paint schemes
- To get the drug vehicles in Hijack and Convoy, just finish the side mission, and then drive it to a parking spot.
- To get other vehicles, you have to leave the bodies out of the vehicles (if necessary...), drive it to a parking spot, destroy it (make sure the wrecks are on the parking spot.), and then suicide.
- Specially coloured vehicles that spawn at the start of the Drug War (Stash and Stickup variants) can be stored after normal completion by saving in a parking space as per normal.
- Specially coloured vehicles can sometimes be saved by mission failure (Convoy and Hijack) without committing suicide, by killing all occupants and then taking the vehicle to a parking spot.
Note that if you tend to get the vehicles on the spot (not the chasing vehicles) in Stickup and Stash, just drive it after the fight without getting the drug bag, go away, and finally you will fail the mission while you are still on the vehicles.
- Most of the cars seen during the Drug Wars have exclusive colors. This includes cars which have blue topsides and deep maroon undersides or Jamaican colors on cars that normally don't support them.
- Armando and Henrique's weapons increase quality incrementally with each drug war. Eventually, they will be armed with Carbine Rifles and SMGs. After 50 Drug Wars, they are armed with Advanced MGs and Gold SMGs.
- When the drug vehicle only has two seats, either Armando or Henrique (usually Henrique) will get in the nearest vehicle and follow you back to the drop off point.
- If you leave Armando Torres and Henrique Bardas behind, they will both automatically follow you in a random vehicle individually. Most of the time, the vehicle will be the same as yours (at least for a generic vehicle).
- Armando and Henrique do not need to survive in order for the mission to succeed, only Luis needs to stay alive. After the mission is complete, everything will be as if they never died in the first place (If only one dies, the other will state that the "dead" one was injured badly enough that they'll need to go to the hospital). And if both die, Luis will comment about them leaving him alone. However, the reward is reduced by $1000 (if one of them dies) or $2000 (if both die).
- Henrique and Armando each have colossal amounts of health during any Drug War, equivalent to Niko Bellic or Patrick McReary's in the mission "Ladies Half Price".
- If you fall from a great height while carrying a stash the duffle bag may burst and something resembling marijuana leaves will spill out. This is strange because marijuana leaves contain very little THC, and aren't sold medically or illegally. However, a lack of a model for marijuana buds likely meant that this was just compensating.
- One odd thing that happens during Drug Wars is, after you have gotten away from the chasing gang members/police, when you drive around you'll notice that parked cars still spawn but, there are almost no cars driving on the road, it will stay like this until you deliver the drugs/drug vehicle. Probably happens to make the getaway easier.
- The player can only get a maximum of a two star wanted level, no matter what they do, wanted levels are really hard to get as well, as doing most things to attract police attention (carjacking, killing, etc.) will not work.
- The only time when the player gets more than 2 stars is during Hijacking where one needs to steal a vehicle (except helicopter) without any gang members guarding it.
- After doing 30 Drug Wars and unlocking the AA-12, the message, that pops up to tell you that you unlocked it, will say Shotgun-EX.
- Strangely enough, during the Castle Garden "stash" drug war, there will be a Maverick leaving the top of the building. If you destroy it, you will fail the drug war and the pop-up message will state "You lost the shipment", although the Maverick has already dropped the shipment on the building already.
- If a decoy vehicle during Hijacking Drug War is destroyed before getting in, the player will still get a wanted level.
- Gang Wars, the The Lost and Damned equivalent.
- Gang Warfare in GTA San Andreas
- Empire Building
- Gang Attacks in GTA Online