Surging gang violence in swaths of northern Mexico is likely due to an internal power struggle within the fractured Sinaloa cartel, Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos said on Saturday.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the powerful boss of the Sinaloa cartel, was extradited to the United States last month and is currently awaiting trial in a New York jail.
Ciefuegos told reporters in Culiacan, the capital of northwestern Sinaloa state, that the leadership vacuum following Guzman’s extradition is likely behind a recent spike in violence.
“In the absence of their leader, (rival factions) are fighting over who will control the organization,” he said.
“I think that’s what is happening,” said Cienfuegos, who is Mexico’s top military commander.