Small Wars Journal

The Manhunt for El Chapo and Why the Cartels are Killing Mexico's Mayors

The Manhunt for the Drug Kingpin El Chapo by Azam Ahmed, New York Times

… The Mexican marines had been on Mr. Guzmán’s trail for more than six months, ever since he humiliated the nation by escaping its most secure prison through a tunnel, this one led into the shower floor of his cell.

But it had come at a cost. The authorities had swept through 18 of his homes and properties in his native lands. Days on end in the inhospitable mountains, where even a billionaire like Mr. Guzmán was forced to rough it, left him yearning for a bit of comfort…

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Why Cartels Are Killing Mexico’s Mayors by Ioan Grillo, New York Times

… Ms. Mota’s murder is the latest turn in the evolution of the Mexican drug business, a process that American and Mexican officials seem unable to grasp. For a decade, Mexican troops have worked with American agents to pursue kingpins, in what is known as the cartel decapitation strategy. Flamboyant gangsters with nicknames like “Tony Tormenta,” “the Engineer” and “the Viceroy” have been shot down or arrested. El Chapo, or Shorty, has been detained twice in less than two years. Yet while these kingpins rot in prisons and graves, their assassins have formed their own organizations, which can be even more violent and predatory…

Without their leader, sicarios who had worked for the Beard formed their own splinter cartels, including Los Rojos and Guerreros Unidos, or Warriors United, and went on a killing rampage. The two cartels now fight over turf in Morelos and neighboring Guerrero State, leaving piles of bodies. Last year, Guerrero had the highest number of murders per capita in Mexico; Morelos was fourth.

These new cartels continue to traffic drugs, some switching from Colombian cocaine to Mexican heroin to feed an epidemic sweeping parts of America. But they have also used their armies of assassins to move into new endeavors: rackets, extortion, oil theft, even wildcat iron mining. And they are now muscling in on one of Mexico’s most lucrative businesses of all: local politics…

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Categories: El Centro