Small Wars Journal

Mexican Cartel Note

Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #45: Drones and Explosives Seized in Puebla, Mexico by Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) and Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA)

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 6:09pm
Search and seizure operations were conducted by Mexican federal agencies in San Andrés Cholula, Puebla state on 25-26 April 2020 due to an anonymous tip. These operations resulted in the seizure of a ‘terrorist arsenal’ (arsenal terrorista) of weapons and equipment including the components required to make weaponized drones. This arsenal is thought to be linked to ongoing organized crime bombings in Guanajuato state—with possible Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) ties—and represents one more data point concerning the growing weaponized drone capabilities of the Mexican cartels and criminal gangs.

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Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 29: An Overview of Cartel Activities Related to COVID-19 Humanitarian Response  

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 6:37pm
Various organized crime entities throughout Latin America, Europe, and Africa—including gangs, cartels, and mafias—are increasingly responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways. These include accounting for a shift in their illicit revenue streams and exploring new economic opportunities that are emerging. In the area of humanitarian response, a large number of the Mexican cartels are now actively engaging in these activities for their public relations and propaganda value in supporting their ‘protector of the community narratives’ targeted at the local citizenry under their control. These cartel activities are not without precedent and have taken place in Mexico in the past—though not as widespread and pronounced as they are now—and further reinforce ongoing criminal insurgency analysis related to this phenomena linked to Eric Hobsbawm’s ‘social banditry’ construct. 

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Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 28: Alleged Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) Car Bombing (“Coche Bomba”) in Colombia

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 2:41am
It behooves security analysts to monitor the migration of the CJNG into new territories, the establishment of new cartel-gang alliances and, as demonstrated in this assessment, the spread of cartel TTPs such as car bombings, and attacks on police and security forces.

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Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #41: Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) Logo and Symbols Identification

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 2:32am
The Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL), also known as the Cártel de Guanajuato, Cártel de Santa Rosa, or el Cártel del Marro, is a criminal cartel operating in the Mexican state of Guanajuato (Gto.). Its principle enterprise is huichicol or fuel theft. The competition for the illicit petroleum trade has led to violent conflict with their rival—the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG). This tactical note reviews the symbology (logos and symbols) used by the CSRL.

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Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #39: GoPro Video Social Media Posting of Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) Tactical Action against Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) in Guanajuato - Indications & Warning (I&W) Concerns

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 11:38am
While this is presently a one-off (I&W) type incident, more such Mexican cartel FPS type videos posted to social media are now inevitable although the rate at which they will proliferate is unknown. Further, futures projections suggest that an eventual follow on cartel social media TTP to this CSRL GoPro taped tactical action will be the live streaming of such FPS immersive experiences—rather than their posting to social media after the fact.

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Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 25: Mexico’s Presidential Election Challenged by Murders/Assassinations of Politicians

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 12:23am
Mexico’s General Election will be held on 1 July 2018. This year’s election will include the Presidential election for the new Sexenio as well as for 128 members of the Senate and 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies. State and local elections are also being held for 8 governors, the head of government for Mexico City, and a variety of municipal officials, including mayors, municipal judges, and council members. A significant number of politicians and candidates have been killed in election-related attacks from organized crime groups in the build up to the election.

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Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #37: Kidnapped SEIDO Intelligence Officers Appear in Cartel Video; Subsequently Found Murdered SWJED Wed, 02/21/2018 - 8:14am

This incident has the potential to raise the stakes in the contest between the CJNG and the Mexican state following what is essentially tantamount to a CJNG declaration of war.