Mexico’s Kingpin Strategy Against the Drug Cartels

2/16/16 New York Times 

mexico-statesPope Francis’ visit to the violence-plagued Mexican state of Michoacán brought new attention to the government’s decade-long effort to break up drug cartels by targeting their leaders. The recent recapture of “El Chapo” — Joaquín Guzmán Loera, perhaps the most notorious cartel king — has been the signature achievement of the strategy, but it has also had other consequences.

A Spike in Violence

Felipe Calderón began the “decapitation” strategy when he became president of Mexico in 2006, and violence shot upward soon after. The tumult was widely viewed as evidence of disruption: a signal that more deadly and unpredictable gangs were competing to fill a vacuum. Kidnapping and extortion became more frequent as smaller gangs looked for profits.


24 Sinaloa cartel members arrested in U.S.-Mexico border raid

1/31/2016 CNN International

federal police mexico(CNN)A cross-border raid by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials resulted in the arrest of 24 Sinaloa cartel members, authorities said.

The sting occurred Friday around the Arizona border with Mexico, local media reported.

It also netted “assault-type weapons” and hundreds of pounds of narcotics, said spokeswoman Gillian M. Christensen of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The raid, dubbed Mexican Operation Diablo Express, targeted “high-level” Sinaloa cartel members who operate in the United States and the Mexican state of Sonora.

“The operation targets criminal elements and organizations operating in and around Sonoyta, Mexico,” a statement from Christensen said.

Mexican federal officers were brought in to the United States to ensure safety during the operation.

Read more…

Did ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s son tweet fugitive’s location?

9/7/2015 CNN

ElChapoA social media faux pas or diversionary tactic?

The son of Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquín Archivaldo Guzman Loera, aka “El Chapo,” may have tweeted a clue to the fugitive’s whereabouts.

A post to an account believed to belong to El Chapo’s son, Alfredo Guzman, includes a photo of the 29-year-old flanked by two unidentified men whose faces are obscured by emoticons. The mustachioed man sitting to Alfredo’s right at a restaurant resembles the kingpin.

Read more…

Cousin of drug kingpin sentenced to 16 years in prison

8/29/15 Boston Globe


A cousin of one of the world’s most notorious drug lords who prosecutors say was working to distribute cocaine in the United States has been sentenced in a New Hampshire court to 16 years in federal prison.

Manuel Jesus Gutierrez-Guzman, 54, cousin of Joaquin ‘‘El Chapo’’ Guzman — who led the Sinaloa drug cartel and escaped from a maximum security prison in Mexico in July — was sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty in October to his role in a conspiracy to expand the reach of his cousin’s drug empire into New England by distributing 1,000 or more kilograms of cocaine and other drugs.

He was arrested in Spain in 2012.

Authorities said the investigation began in 2009 when a link to the cartel was discovered in Massachusetts. Undercover FBI agents posed as members of a European drug-trafficking organization and met with Gutierrez-Guzman and others in Spain, Mexico, and the United States, including in Portsmouth and New Castle, N.H.

Read more…

2 Mexican drug traffickers arrested in Colombia

8/21/15 Fox News Latino

Flag-Pins-Mexico-ColombiaTwo suspected members of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested in the Colombian Caribbean city of Cartagena by police officers working with Interpol, police spokesmen said.

Osvaldo Contreras Arriaga and Omar Ayon Diaz were arrested on Wednesday.

The two Mexican citizens were the subjects of alerts issued by Interpol.

The suspects face drug and money laundering charges in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego.

“These two people were arrested at Rafael Nuñez International Airport when they tried to enter Cartagena accompanied by relatives from Panama and Mexico,” Cartagena Metropolitan Police commander Brig. Gen. Carlos Rodriguez told EFE. The suspects “are wanted for laundering more than $45 million from smuggling drugs from Mexico into the United States,” the police chief said.

Read more…

‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s key role in the global cocaine trade is becoming clearer

8/16/15 Business Insider

ElChapoJoaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel in Mexico is the largest drug-trafficking organization in the world, and its deep ties to Colombia are becoming more apparent.

According to a recent report from from Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, Sinaloa controls 35% of the cocaine exported from Colombia — the largest producer of the drug in the world.

Now that El Chapo has escaped from a Mexican prison, Colombian generals who worked to bring down the notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar are reportedly hunting down the notorious Sinaloa cartel leader, too. Born in the mountains of Sinaloa state on Mexico’s west coast, El Chapo’s cartel has expanded throughout the country and around the world over the last several decades. According to Spanish newspaper El País, the cartel’s marijuana and poppy fields in Mexico cover more than 23,000 miles of land, an area larger than Costa Rica. It has operatives in at least 17 Mexican states and operations in up to 50 countries, Insight Crime reports.

Read more…

The first suspected narcotunnel found since El Chapo’s escape has all the hallmarks of Mexico’s top cartel

8/5/15 Business Insider

Map_Downtown_Tijuana_Northern_Baja_California_MexicoThe tunnel is roughly 19 feet deep, 5.5 feet high, and over 400 feet long, and it bears all the signs of the famously subterranean Sinaloa cartel and its leader, “Lord of the Soil” Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. According to Spanish newspaper El País, the tunnel was discovered by Mexico authorities on June 30, but details were only released on Sunday. No arrests have been made.

The entrance on the Mexican side was located in a warehouse emblazoned with the name Importadora y Exportadora Hega, a company about which internet searches turned up little. (According to El País, googling the company shows that it does cemetery construction.) The passageway, which had not been completed, connected the US and Mexico at a point near the busy border crossing at Garita de San Ysidro, near the city of Tijuana and across the border from San Diego.

The tunnel had light fixtures as well as rail track. Though its exact purpose and designers remain unknown, it is suspected that it was built to smuggle drugs.

Read more…