During the COVID-19 pandemic, organized criminal groups (OCG) in Mexico adopted various strategies of social control to adapt their interests with the pandemic’s health risks. Some adopted violent measures to enforce social distancing policies while others provided basic goods to ameliorate the economic consequences of the health crisis. What explains the variation in OCG governance strategies during the pandemic? To answer this question, we propose deploying an online survey combining two strategies to gather sensitive information: 1) respondents’ recruitment through Facebook Ads to access areas under OCG control, and 2) a list experiment to understand the extent and strategies of criminal control during the pandemic. Our research contributes to current knowledge about the manifestations of criminal governance regimes, providing insights to understand the effects of criminal governance on a wide range of behavioral outcomes.