Small Wars Journal

A social network analysis of Genaro García Luna and his alleged ties to the Sinaloa Cartel

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 5:22pm

A social network analysis of Genaro García Luna and his alleged ties to the Sinaloa Cartel

Francisco Sollano Jr

This article is a mixed methods research study on Genaro García Luna—former head of Mexican Federal law enforcement—and his ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and other Mexican officials involved in the criminal organization from 2003 to 2008. This study thus explores the role and influence of corrupt Mexican officials that allowed for a secure and efficient illegal trafficking of drugs inside Mexico and into the United States, as well. To find the connections and create a social network analysis (SNA) in the analytical program, UCINET,[1] various sources of data such as court documents were utilized. The information was obtained through official US court documents such as indictments, official testimonies, and hearing transcripts. Researchers aiming at applying SNA in a criminological context can be confident about data collected from different kinds of court records especially when the focus of the research is on individuals in terms of their position within the criminal group.[2]

The findings from the information and the network showed that the actors with the highest betweenness centrality were also the leaders of their respective organizations. The findings also demonstrated in a two-faction analysis that many individuals working for the Mexican government were in the faction pertaining to the Sinaloa Cartel and vice versa suggesting an objective high level of interconnectivity between government officials and drug traffickers. These results suggest the involvement and role of corrupt officials inside organized crime is crucial to facilitate the goals of the criminal organizations, thus contributing to and supporting the existing literature on corruption and organized crime. It should be noted that, not all individuals found in this study are assumed to be guilty or have been proven so via conviction in a court of law. The presumption of innocence is an important concept that applies to the actors discussed here.


Genaro García  Luna was once a high-rank official for the Mexican government. More specifically he was the Secretary of Public Security of Mexico and prior to that he was the head of the Agencia Federal de Investigacion (AFI). Established on November 1, 2001, the AFI was Mexico’s Federal investigation agency and was in charge of investigating federal crimes like kidnapping and drug-trafficking. The AFI was later disbanded and renamed into what was once known as the Policia Federal Ministerial (PFM) and now the Guardia Nacional.[3] He was also part of the presidential cabinet from 2006-2012 led by ex-President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa. According to a known trafficker Edgar Valdez Villareal, also known as “La Barbie,” García Luna started to receive bribes from criminal organizations. That was the only known evidence available to the public until 2018, when Jesus “El Rey” Zambada García testified in the United States v. Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera trial. “El Rey” admitted that he met and delivered more than three million dollars to Genaro García Luna on two separate occasions. “El Rey” claimed to have bribed the Secretary of Public Security for the protection of the members and illegal operations of the Sinaloa Cartel. According to another known trafficker by the name of Sergio Villareal Barragán, also known as “El Grande,” García Luna and Luis Cardenas Palomino collaborated with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltrán Leyvas.[4] This prompted an investigation by the US government into Mr. García Luna and his links with criminal organizations, specifically the Sinaloa Cartel.

The Sinaloa Cartel is a major criminal organization involved in drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, money laundering, among other types of crimes, based in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. According to Jones, “The Sinaloa Cartel was born of the dissolution of the Guadalajara Cartel following the transfer of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo to a new maximum-security prison.”[5] This organization also traffics narcotics internationally, mainly to the United States due to its geographic position and proximity to the border. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera was considered the leader, along with his close associate, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada García, of the Sinaloa Cartel since the late 1990s until his 2017 extradition to the United States.[6] The Sinaloa Cartel was able to grow immensely to the point where the organization could bribe and influence top government officials to protect the cartel and its goals. This allowed the Sinaloa Cartel and its members to keep operating illegally. With the help of corrupt Mexican officials, like Genaro García  Luna, the criminal organization led by “El Mayo” and “El Chapo” managed to profit and make millions, if not billions, of dollars in illegal revenue.

Literature Review

The author has researched other studies to better understand how SNA and the publicly available information could be used to describe a criminal network such as the Genaro García Luna network. Past research has focused on using wiretap conversations that included a SNA of the phone contacts in a heroin dealing organization.[7] Other studies have centered their efforts on analyzing and understanding the relationship between actors that communicate through social media platforms.[8] However, this analysis builds on previous studies in this area that triangulate between quantitative SNA and qualitative methods in mixed method fashion. Furthermore, it builds on Criminal Network Analysis (CNA), an important and effective method of analysis to conceptualize complex criminal macro-phenomena such as the Genaro García Luna network.[9] Using more than one data source can not only help define a network with precision, but also avoid the limitations that come with the use of a single source of data. Multiple sources allow for a more reliable construction of a network while limiting validity or missing data issues.[10]


The author searched official US court documents, including indictments, testimonies, transcripts, obtained from PACER, which is the federal court electronic access system. The most notable documents include the Superseding Indictment of Joaquín Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada,[11] the Superseding Indictment of Genaro García  Luna, Luis Cardenas Palomino, and Ramón Pequeño García,[12] the Superseding Indictment of Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr.,[13] among others. A superseding indictment is the same as any other indictment, but can include different charges, new charges, or add new defendants. Once a superseding indictment is returned by a grand jury it replaces (supersedes) the original indictment.[14] Information was also obtained through press releases from US government websites, open-source media, and from the book “El Licenciado” by J. Jesús Lemus, a Mexican journalist.[15] The author used UCINET and NetDraw to code, analyze, and present the findings of the information gathered.[16] 

This article will proceed in the following sections. First, it will provide a historical background and literature review of the Sinaloa Cartel and its relationship with the Mexican government. Second, it will describe social network analysis (SNA) and the methods used in this study. This section will include a discussion of the key court documents found and the methods and software used to code and create the networks from the qualitative data set. For example, it is critical to define what a tie/edge is in social network analysis. Third, it will present the results of the social network analysis and analyze them. Fourth and finally, this article will provide concluding assessments and make policy recommendations.


There are certain limitations with this research that need to be considered and should be acknowledged when reading the literature of this study. The information found in the Superseding Indictment of the United States v. Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr. charges fifteen individuals involved in the illegal trafficking of drugs. There are also more individuals, on top of the aforementioned fifteen, that were charged in the same indictment but whose names were redacted. Redactions are done to protect critical and sensitive information. Therefore, for this research, only the leader of the Seguimiento 39 Cartel, Angel Dominguez Ramirez, Jr., was kept in the diagrams for the social network analysis.[17] The role of every actor in the Seguimiento 39 network, except for Ramirez Jr., was not specified. The indictment does not clarify or include specific details that mention what role the actors played inside the network resulting in an artificially dense network that the author deemed unreliable and thus excluded.

As mentioned in the future research section, the United States v. Genaro García Luna trial is still continuing. There is evidence that has been presented by the government of the United States but is still not available to the general public. If the evidence ever becomes public, the findings may help this study to better understand the social network in terms of centrality, cutpoints, and factions. Additional evidence could reveal other ties thus changing the existing network topology. Additional key actors may be revealed with their own factions. The US District Judge, Brian Cogan, the designated judge for the Genaro García Luna case, has yet to render a verdict on whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. Though it is important to note that Judge Cogan has denied Mr. García Luna’s request to be released on bail.

Macro-corruption & Institutional Co-optation

As mentioned earlier, the author considers the Genaro García Luna network to be a much more complex structure. The varied connections, between different high-ranking government officials and key players of various criminal organizations, deviates the network from the traditional concepts of corruption into a “macro-corruption” concept. The analysis of these types of networks drifts away from the traditional methodologies in place to better understand how these networks operate and function at the macro-level.[18] A macro-corruption network consists of the participation of powerful social agents at various scales and territories through innovative procedures, agreements, and mechanisms.[19]

This network also has aspects of institutional co-optation within. This means that the Genaro García Luna network falls in the scenario in which public and private lawful agents, such as candidates, public officials, and businessmen establish agreements and co-opt not only lawful agents but also unlawful agents, such as drug traffickers, and vice versa, which results in a coordination of mutual interests.[20] The findings on this macro-corruption and co-optation network supports the theory that criminal organizations, like the cartels, cannot operate efficiently or create an international supply-chain without the help of insiders, such as corrupt government officials.

Fig 1

Figure 1. Genaro García  Luna Network: Ties & Connections

(Layout: Non-metric MDS of geo-distances)

Figure 1 is the result of the coding of connections in the Genaro García Luna social network. The diagram consists of twenty-two different individuals. Ten of these actors were once involved or once held positions in the military, law enforcement, or public administration system of the Mexican government. Eleven of these actors are, or were once, members of the Sinaloa Cartel. One actor was the leader of the Seguimiento 39 Cartel. The successful conduct of SNA requires data that informs about links or relationships between pairs of individuals within the group.[21] The Genaro García  Luna network is a co-offender network built on operational connections as described in indictments and other sources, due to the different groups/organizations being involved in the same illegal activities.

Network Topology

Network topography is the structure of the network and includes different metrics such as size, diameter, average distance, fragmentation, density, and centralization (See Table 1).[22]

Table 1

Table 1. Whole network measures

This is an important factor to look into in social network analysis as it can tell us about the location of the actors, their positions inside the network and what that means for the overall structure of the network. In the Figure 2 SNA of Genaro García Luna, various observations were made. First, the actors from the middle to the right side of the network are all involved in positions inside the Mexican government except Sergio Villareal Barragan and Edgar Valdez Villareal. The actors from the middle to the left side of the network are all involved as members or leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel and Seguimiento 39 Cartel with the exception of Ivan Reyes Arzate and Armando Espinoza de Benito. The finding means that the highly ranked government officials associated with the cartels and their members keep a far distance from each other inside the network. Instead, the government officials send lower ranked members that they trust, to meet with the leaders or representatives of the criminal organization though that may not always be the case.

According to Everton, “…effective networks can be neither too dense nor too sparse, neither too centralized nor too decentralized. Instead, they must land somewhere on a continuum between the two sets of extremes.”[23] García Luna is the most central actor analyzed in betweenness centrality as seen in Figure 3. Although he is the most central actor, he still remains at a considerable distance from the rest of the members that form part of the Sinaloa Cartel. One main approach to capture how individuals are embedded in networks is to examine distance. The distance between actors is the number of steps it takes for a signal to go from source to receiver.[24] Analysts generally use a variety of metrics (rather than just one or two) in their attempts to gain an overall understanding of a network. Network visualization is a helpful tool that can help us visualize patterns that may not be readily apparent by simply looking at tables of metrics.[25]

Figure 2

Figure 2. Factions in the Network: Sinaloa Cartel & Mexican Government

(Layout: Non-metric MDS of geo-distances; Colors/Shapes: Subgroups: 2 Factions; Attributes)

In Figure 2 the actors were separated into two groups or factions. According to Everton “A faction is a subnetwork where each actor is tied to all other actors within their own subnetwork but have no ties to actors in other subnetworks.”[26] Two factions were used as it would separate the actors who currently hold or held an official position in the Mexican government from the actors who currently hold or held a position in a transnational criminal organization like the Sinaloa Cartel or the Seguimiento 39 Cartel. When the number of subgroups is chosen based on previous knowledge of the network, it can be used to test the reliability of faction analysis and confirm some aspects of what is already known about the network and the actors.[27]

Faction 1 (Figure 2) is represented by the red colored nodes. Faction 1 includes actors who once held an official position inside the Mexican government, including ex-president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa. It is important to note three actors who are part of Faction 2 (Figure 2) but never held a position inside the Mexican government: Vicente Zambada Niebla, Pedro Flores, and Margarito Flores. All three of these actors have served as witnesses to aid the United States government with evidence for the criminal trial against Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. 

Faction 2 is represented by the blue colored nodes. Faction 2 includes actors who are members or leaders of the Seguimiento 39 and the Sinaloa Cartel, with the exception of actors Luis Cardenas Palomino, Armando Espinoza de Benito, and Ramon Pequeño García. These three actors form a clique which would allow for one or more passages for information from the criminal networks to Genaro García Luna, and vice versa.

Figure 3

Figure 3. Betweenness Centrality inside the Network

(Betweenness Centrality)

The measure of betweenness centrality was analyzed for Figure 3 above. There are three remarkable actors whose nodes are bigger than the rest of the nodes in the network based on betweenness centrality, which are: Genaro García Luna, Arturo Beltrán Leyva, and Joaquin Guzmán Loera. Though most information may go through the central actors in the network, it may not always be so. Betweenness centrality has a disadvantage and that is that the less central actors in the network may choose to send information through longer paths, instead of the shorter paths that the central actors have. It is important to note that Genaro García Luna served in office from 2006-2012 but is currently in jail facing a trial. Arturo Beltrán Leyva is dead as he was killed by Mexican Marines in 2009. Joaquin Guzmán Loera has been proven guilty in a Federal court and is currently in a maximum security prison in the United States.

Table 2

Table 2. Actor Degree Centrality

One essential key of Figure 3 and Table 2 is noting the official positions that the three actors held in their respective organizations. Guzmán Loera was the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Beltrán Leyva was a high-ranking official in the Sinaloa Cartel (until a bloody feud that split Leyva from the cartel), and García Luna was the Secretary of Public Security of the Mexican government. According to Watabe, “To control information flow, a node should be between other nodes because the node can interrupt information flow between them. Thus, betweenness centrality is the most appropriate measure.”[28] The position and connections of these three actors inside the network allows them to manage and distribute most information inside the network. This demonstrates how influential the corrupt Mexican officials are for a criminal organization like the Sinaloa Cartel and vice versa. The author deemed assigning weights to ties that connect different nodes unsuitable with the available evidence, thus excluded the analysis from this study.

Another key observation of Table 2 is the role that the less central actors play in the network. The low number of ties does not mean that the actors cannot be influential inside the network. Weak ties are important because they form crucial bridges to tie other clusters of nodes together that would otherwise not be connected. Weak ties also provide a higher level of security as they are harder to detect than strong ties.[29]

The strength of ties, for this study, is defined based on the distance, in number of hops, between nodes. A weak tie is further away from key actors while strong ties are much closer to the key actors. We can examine how the actors define and create structures by their patterns of affiliation with them and attempt to describe patterns of relations. These approaches can be particularly helpful in seeking the “hidden logic” or “latent structure” of more abstract dimensions that underlie the interactions of many specific actors across many specific events; they can also be useful to identify groups of actors and events that “go together.”[30]

The Flores Brothers

Pedro Flores and Margarito Flores are twin brothers who were in charge of a network of drug trafficking inside the United States, mainly in Chicago. The Flores brothers had several meetings with high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel members, including both “El Chapo” and Vicente Zambada Niebla. Before the meetings, the Flores brothers were already illegally trafficking for the Sinaloa Cartel.[31] This is how they form a connection with the Sinaloa Cartel and form part of the Genaro García Luna network. Margarito and Pedro were in charge of transporting and selling the drugs that were supplied by the Sinaloa Cartel for most of the 2000s. The removal of both actors from the network did not directly affect Genaro García Luna. Though they did affect the Sinaloa Cartel and mostly “El Chapo” because of their cooperation with law enforcement officials in the United States.[32] Inside the network of Genaro García Luna, the actors do not play a significant role, nor do they possess many connections to other actors in the network.

Fig 4

Figure 4. Ego Networks: Pedro Flores, Margarito Flores

As seen in Figure 4, both brothers only possess connections to three other actors (including the connection in between each other). The Flores brothers are currently free under witness protection. Vicente Zambada Niebla was captured in 2009, extradited to the US in 2010, and is currently serving a 15-year sentence in the United States.[33]

Fig 5

Figure 5. Ego Networks: Margarito Flores, Pedro Flores, and Genaro García Luna

Nevertheless, their presence inside the network demonstrates how far the influence of García Luna reached in terms of distance and location. García Luna was not directly connected with the Flores brothers. However, as shown in Figure 5, his central position inside the network and his alleged protection of the Sinaloa Cartel allowed the Flores brothers to receive drug shipments coming from Mexico and distribute the product inside the United States. Without García Luna, the Sinaloa Cartel would not have been able to perform as efficiently and the Flores brothers would have been affected by the shortage of supply.

Fig 6

Figure 6. Ego Network: Angel Dominguez Ramirez, Jr.


Seguimiento 39 Cartel

The Seguimiento 39 Cartel is a criminal network engaged in illegal drug trafficking. Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr., a former United States Marine, was the leader of this criminal organization. As shown in Figure 6, the direct ties that Ramirez, Jr has with “El Chapo” Guzmán, “El Mayo” Zambada, Hector Beltrán Leyvan, and Arturo Beltrán demonstrate that one of Seguimiento 39’s supply chains for illicit drugs was the Sinaloa Cartel. The direct tie that Ramirez, Jr. has with Ivan Reyes Arzate supports expands the level of corruption found inside the Genaro García Luna network. Reyes Arzate was a commander for the Policia Federal de Mexico. He was also the commander of the Mexican Federal Police’s Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) from 2003-2016.[34] Reyes Arzate aided the Seguimiento 39 Cartel with the shipment and transportation of illegal drugs from Mexico to the United States. This was done by the commander of the Mexican Federal Police in exchange for bribes. According to Department of Justice, “SIU officers in Mexico routinely work with US law enforcement to combat narcotics trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.”[35] While working at his governmental position, Arzate worked closely with officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The association allowed Arzate to divulge classified information from the DEA to the Seguimiento 39 cartel. The leaks of classified information pertaining to the DEA, or any US federal agency, delays or puts at risk the goals of the government of the United States.[36] This finding demonstrates that corrupt government officials are not only a danger to their own country’s national security, but to neighboring countries too, as is the United States with Mexico.

Fig 7

Figure 7. Ego Networks: Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr, Genaro García  Luna

The Seguimiento 39 Cartel leader has a similar situation, in terms of the Genaro García  Luna network, to the Flores brother’s sub-network. As mentioned before, the cartel is not directly tied to García Luna but has a close association to leaders and members of the Sinaloa Cartel, as well as to Ivan Reyes Arzate. Although it cannot be seen directly in Figure 7, García  Luna does have an influence on the operations of Seguimiento 39. The influence comes from Luna’s ties with the Sinaloa Cartel. The assistance to protect the operations of the Sinaloa Cartel, by the Mexican Ex-Secretary of Public Security and his corrupt colleagues, is reflected in supply-chains like the Seguimiento 39 and the organization of the Flores brothers. The protection allows for the supplier to send the product to its distributor without any disruption by law enforcement.

Fig 8

Figure 8. Block & Cut points

The Block & Cut Points analysis in Figure 8 demonstrates which actors, if removed from the network, would disrupt the flow and passage of information as a whole. Genaro García  Luna is the only cut point and the network depends on his presence to keep the flow of information and resources inside the criminal organization. The only actor who would remain disconnected from the network with the removal of Genaro García  Luna would be Francisco Garza Palacios.

Fig 8

Figure 9. Ego Network & Betweenness Centrality: Genaro García  Luna

Figure 9 shows the ego network of Genaro García Luna. There are several observations to note about the direct ties that García Luna has and about the network in general. First, there are only four actors who are members of drug cartels which García  Luna has direct ties with: Arturo Beltrán Leyva, Edgar Valdez Villareal, Sergio Villareal Barragán, and Vicente Zambada Niebla. The remaining eight actors, including Luna himself, once held highly ranked positions in the Mexican government.

Second, there are three actors, located on the right side, who are pendants in the ego network: Vicente Zambada Niebla, Ivan Reyes Arzate, and Francisco Garza Palacios. Pendants are referred to nodes who are connected in the network through only one tie. These actors also have the least degree centrality; therefore, little information goes through these people from García Luna. The lack of ties of Arzate may be due to his lower rank in the Mexican government compared to García Luna’s higher ranked accomplices. The lack of ties of Francisco Garza Palacios can be due to his lower rank as well but may also be due to his geographic position. Palacios was representing the Mexican Federal Police in Colombia at the time.

Third, the actors on the left side of the network have a higher degree centrality with three or more connections for each actor. Actors on the left side include members belonging both to the cartels and the Mexican government. Genaro García Luna directly cooperated with highly ranked cartel members.[37] He expanded a corrupt organization through his colleagues like Cardenas Palomino, Ex-head of the Regional Security Division of the Federal Police, or Guillermo Galván, Ex-Secretary of National Defense, or Mourino Terrazo, Ex-Secretary of Government. This is important as it demonstrates that the corruption in the Mexican government did not rely on one individual, but relied on the cooperation of various individuals. It can be seen how sparse connections, inside of a decentralized network, can add a layer of protection and insulate the key corrupt actors.


The mixed methods research of the social network analysis of Genaro García Luna contributes to the literature and understanding the roles of corrupt government officials inside of the Sinaloa Cartel. The findings in the analysis of the various diagrams suggest that highly ranked government officials play an important role as cut points and in terms of centrality. Disruption strategies targeting individuals with high centrality are likely to include the leaders and other visible members of the drug distribution network, and this should, lead to a more successful crime control.[38] The author found that the most central actor of the network was the only cut point in the network. It can be put forward that networks with a similar pattern (cut points and central actors often correlate) can be an indicator of vulnerabilities that law enforcement agencies may exploit to cut off an illicit network from information and resources. If various central actors and cut points exist in a network, then it may be more difficult for law enforcement to disrupt the criminal network.

The two-faction Figure 2 notes an important finding as well. Some officials of the Mexican government were grouped into the faction pertaining to the Sinaloa Cartel, while some members of the Sinaloa Cartel were grouped into the faction pertaining to the Mexican government officials. The overlap of members of different organizations in relation to the analysis may suggest that the central actors of each faction can rely on “little fish” to establish a connection from one faction to another. These less central actors can and could be targeted as a bottom-up approach to disrupt a criminal organization.

It is also important to understand the findings on actors with minimal connections in the network. Some actors are not highly relevant, like Ivan Reyes Arzate or the Flores brothers, in the social network of Genaro García Luna. Though this does not mean they do not possess a great danger towards the countries they commit their crimes in. Reyes Arzate divulged sensitive information and the Flores brothers held a supply-chain to distribute drugs in major US cities. Their removal from the network may not create a significant impact on the García Luna network but can still produce a short-term disruption to drug flow and network instability.

Future Research

This study should not be considered a complete overview of all of Genaro García  Luna’s criminal activities and corruption, but rather an exploratory case study analysis allowing for opportunities to expand or deepen the knowledge on the subject of matter. The trial/case of Genaro García Luna is currently ongoing meaning that not all information or evidence has been released to the general public. Once all evidence is available, future studies may be able to expand the social network of Genaro García  Luna. As well as explicitly defining the roles of the actors that already have been included in this study. This study only includes key-points from the currently available resources. Individuals should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Future studies may also compare and contrast the findings of this study to other criminal networks involving government corruption. This would allow us to acknowledge whether or not there is a pattern or similarity from this organization to other criminal organizations in regard to factions, cut points, centrality, and the overall topography. If a pattern does exist, then it would be beneficial for academics and law enforcement to understand those patterns. This would allow law enforcement agencies to focus on the structured pattern and analyze existing criminal organizations to exploit possible vulnerabilities.

Illicit network recruitment is another observation that upcoming studies could assess as more evidence is released.[39] This is crucial as it would allow the readers to understand how government officials, who are sworn in to protect the people of their respective country, some even holding a level of security clearance, manage to create a connection with a criminal or various criminal organizations. There are many factors to be considered when researching for this information such as business, family, personal, obligational, or other type of ties. The cause or motive of each individual to commit treason against their own country is also an important factor to look into. Understanding what drives each individual would allow an extra implementation of policies or programs to deter current members holding a position in government from becoming corrupt or from granting individuals a highly ranked position. Most importantly, understanding how criminal organizations recruit and bribe government officials can aid law enforcement agencies from around the world in the fight against crime and corruption.


Disclaimer: It should be noted that, not all individuals found in this study are assumed to be guilty or have been proven so via conviction in a court of law. The presumption of innocence is an important concept that applies to the actors discussed here.

[1] Stephen P. Borgatti, Martin G. Everett, and Linton C. Freeman, UCINET for Windows: Software for Social Network Analysis. Harvard, Massachusetts: Analytic Technologies, 2002,

[2] Giulia Berlusconi, “Do All the Pieces Matter? Assessing the Reliability of Law Enforcement Data Sources for the Network Analysis of Wire Taps.” Global Crime. Vol. 13, No. 1. 2014: p. 78,

[3] Jorge Perezy and Maria De La Luz Gonzalez, “Surge la Policía Federal Ministerial.” El Universal. 30 May 2009,  

[4] Anabel Hernandez, “‘El Grande’ Acusa a García Luna y a Cárdenas Palomino de Trabajar Para El Cártel de Sinaloa y Los Beltrán Leyva.” Aristegui Noticias. 17 December 2019,ía -luna-y-a-luis-cardenas-palomino-de-trabajar-para-el-cartel-de-sinaloa-y-los-Beltrán-leyva/.

[5] Nathan P. Jones, Mexico’s Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. 2016, p. 97.

[6] Ibid. p. 98.

[7] Mangai Natarajan, “Understanding the Structure of a Large Heroin Distribution Network: A Quantitative Analysis of Qualitative Data.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology. Vol. 22, no. 2. 2006: p. 171,

[8] Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Rajendra G. Kulkarni, Patrick R. Baxter, and Naoru Koizumi. “Messengers of a Drug War in the Cyberspace: The Case of Tamaulipas.” Small Wars Journal. 7 September 2021,

[9] Luis Jorge Garay-Salamanca, Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, and Guillermo Macias, “Macro-Corruption and the Lava-Jato Case: A Criminal Networks Analysis.” Small Wars Journal. 3 June 2018,

[10] David Bright, Russell Brewer, and Carlo Morselli. “Using Social Network Analysis to Study Crime: Navigating the Challenges of Criminal Justice Records,” Social Networks. Vol. 66. 2021: p. 58,; Michael Kenney and Stephen Coulthart, “The Methodological Challenges of Extracting Dark Networks: Minimizing False Positives through Ethnography,” in Luke Gerdes, Ed., Illuminating Dark Networks: The Study of Clandestine Groups and Organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

[11] United States District Court Eastern District of New York, Superseding Indictment: United States v. Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera et. al. 11 May 2016,

[12] United States District Court Eastern District of New York, Superseding Indictment: United States v. Genaro García  Luna et. al. 20 July 2020,

[13] United States District Court Southern District of California, Superseding Indictment: United States v. Angel Dominguez Ramirez, Jr. et. al. 4 January 2018,

[14] Burnham &. Gorokhov, PLLC, “Federal Indictments: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed 29 Nov. 2021,  

[15] Jesus J. Lemus, El Licenciado (Spanish Edition). New York: Harper Collins Español. 2020.

[16] Op. cit. Stephen P. Borgatti et al. at Note 1.

[17] Alberto Nájar, “Qué es el ‘Seguimiento 39’, el misterioso ‘cartel de carteles’ de México.” BBC News Mundo. 11 February 2020,

[18] Luis Jorge Garay-Salamanca, Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, and Guillermo Macias, “Macro-Corruption and the Lava-Jato Case: A Criminal Networks Analysis.” Small Wars Journal. 3 June 2018,

[19] Luis Jorge Garay Salamanca, Eduardo Salcedo Albarán, and Guillermo Macias Fernandez, Macro-Corruption and Institutional Co-Optation: The “Lava Jato” Criminal Network. 2018. p. 30.

[20] Ibid. p. 28.

[21] David A. Bright, Caitlin E. Hughes, and Jenny Chalmers, “Illuminating Dark Networks: A Social Network Analysis of an Australian Drug Trafficking Syndicate.” Crime, Law and Social Change. Vol. 57, no. 2. 2012: pp. 151–176,

[22] Sean F. Everton, Disrupting Dark Networks. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. p.166.

[23] Ibid. p. 167.

[24] Robert Hanneman, and Mark Riddle, Introduction to social network methods. Riverside, California: University of California, 2005.

[25] Mark Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited.” Sociological Theory. Vol. 1. 1983, p. 201,

[26] Op. cit. Sean F. Everton at Note 22, p. 400.

[27] Nathan P. Jones, Layne Dittmann, Jun Wu, and Tyler Reese, “A Mixed Methods Social Network Analysis of a Cross-Border Drug Network: The Fernando Sanchez Organization (FSO),” Trends in Organized Crime. Vol. 23, no. 2. 2020. p. 162,

[28] Motoki Watabe, “Exercise for Chapter 6: Centrality for Per Hage and Frank Harary, Island Networks: Communication, Kinship, and Classification Structures in Oceania. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press: 1996,  

[29] Op. cit. Mark Granovetter at Note 25, p. 201.

[30] Op. cit. Robert Hanneman and Mark Riddle at note 24.

[31] Government’s Evidentiary Proffer Supporting the Admissibility of Co-Conspirator Statement. United States v. Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla. United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. 10 November 2011,

[32] Government’s Sentencing Memorandum and Motion to Depart from the Applicable Guideline Range. United States v. Vicente Zambada-Niebla. United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. 20 May 2019,

[33] Elena Reina, “Vicentillo Zambada: A Collaborator to the US, a Traitor to Mexico’s Drug Gangs.” El País(English Edition) 15 May 2021,

[34] “Former Mexican Federal Police Commander Arrested for Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy.” Press Release. US Department of Justice. 24 January 2020,

[35] “Former Mexican Federal Police Commander Pleads Guilty to Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy.” Press Release. US Department of Justice. 19 October 2021,

[36] “Former Mexican Secretary of Public Security Genaro García  Luna Charged with Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.” Press Release. US Department of Justice. 30 July 2021,

[37] United States v. Luna. United States District Court Northern District of Texas (Dallas), Criminal Docket No.19-CR-576. 17 December 2019. p. 38-44,

[38] Gisela Bichler, Aili Malm, and Tristen Cooper, “Drug Supply Networks: A Systematic Review of the Organizational Structure of Illicit Drug Trade,” Crime Science. Vol. 6, no. 1. 2017: p. 2,

[39] Eduardo Salcedo-Albaran and Luis Jorge Garay-Salamanca, Macro-criminalidad: Complejidad y resiliencia de las redes criminales. Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse, 2016.


Categories: El Centro

About the Author(s)

Francisco Sollano Jr is a graduate from Sam Houston State University where he earned his B.A. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Homeland Security Studies. He was also a part of the Elliot T. Bowers Honors College and graduated Magna Cum Laude. His topics of interest include transnational crimes such as drug trafficking, terrorism, weapons trafficking, and money-laundering and is fluent in Spanish. He wishes to pursue an M.A. focused on international security as well aspursuing a career path through federal law enforcement. Inspired by his father, his main career goal is to one day be able to represent the United States overseas.



Tue, 01/18/2022 - 8:36am

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