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

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

 

Robert J. Bunker and John P. Sullivan

 

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.[1] 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.

 

Key Information: “Qué es el cartel de Santa Rosa de Lima que amenaza a AMLO con ‘matar gente inocente’ en México.” La Opinión. 2 February 2019, https://laopinion.com/2019/02/02/amlo-y-el-combate-al-huachicol-que-es-el-cartel-de-santa-rosa-de-lima-que-amenaza-a-amlo-con-matar-gente-inocente-en-mexico/:

Narcomanta threatening Marina, Sedena, and fuerzas federales signed by Puro Cartel de Santa Rosa de Lima.

 

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Image: CSRL Narcomanta. Symbols: M in Triangle, Crossed Warhammers.

Key Information: “Cartel de Santa Rosa de lima e ‘El Marro’ decapita a miembro del CJNG.” México Código Rojo. 7 December 2018, https://mexicocodigorojo.com.mx/2018/12/cartel-de-santa-rosa-de-lima-de-el-marro-decapita-a-miembro-del-cjng/:

Narcomanta threatening rivals from Jalisco (i.e., CJNG).

 

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Image: CSRL Narcomanta. Symbols: S.R.L., Triangle Flanked by Warhammers.

Key Information:  “SALGANLE AL TOPON: Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima Le Manda Mensaje a el CJNG.” México Código Rojo. 14 February 2019, 

https://mexicocodigorojo.com.mx/2019/02/salganle-al-topon-cartel-santa-rosa-de-lima-le-manda-mensaje-a-el-cjng/:

S.R.L. logo used on various social media sites.

 

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Image: CSRL Logo on Social Media. Symbols: Guanajuato Outline, Skull, Crossed Warhammers, and S.R.L. in Triangle [2]

Key Information: “Guanajuato bajo fuego: Atacan a tiros la sede de la FGR en Irapuato.” Hilo Directo. 6 March 2019, http://hilodirecto.com.mx/guanajuato-bajo-fuego-atacan-a-tiros-la-sede-de-la-fgr-en-irapuato/:

Yellow “payroll” envelope found during enforcement operation “Golpe de Timón” conducted by Semar and state police found with symbol associated with CSRL directing relatives to demonstrate for the cartel.[3] 

 

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Image: CSRL ink stamp on a payment envelope given to residents to protest and block military on command. Symbols: Warhammer on Triangle, Guanajuato Outline on Hammer Head.[4]

Key Information:  Gerardo Cano, “Ejecutan a seis en Guanajuato y dejan narcomensaje a nombre de El Marro.” LNN (lanetanoticias). 23 January 2019ejecutan-a-seis-en-guanajuato-y-dejan-narcomensaje-a-nombre-de-el-marro:

 

Narcomanta threatening “turncoats or traitors” signed “Sr. Marro.”

 

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Image: CSRL Narcomanta. Symbols: M in Triangle, Puro GTO.[5]

 

Key Information:  @alec_diaz_, “@l4nd3t4, @vigilantehuaste, @jbustamanteriv,

@c4jimenez, Actualizando fotos de Salamanca Guanajuato.” Twitter. 25 May 2018, https://twitter.com/alec_diaz_/status/1000089463589036032:

Profane CSRL Narcomanta threatening members of rival CJNG cell La Verga Mera.

 

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Image: CSRL Narcomanta. Symbols: M in a Triangle, Warhammers on the Sides, SRL.

Key Information: Dennys Roldán, “Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima: el conflicto contra el CJNG que azota a Guanajuato.” LNN, la neta noticias. 10 December 2018, https://www.lanetanoticias.com/estados/351287/cartel-santa-rosa-de-lima-el-conflicto-contra-el-cjng-que-azota-a-guanajuato:

CSRL Narcomanta threatening La MV and placard on alleged blindfolded member of rival CJNG cell la MV accused of theft.

 

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Image: CSRL Narcomantas with Green Manta displayed on member of rival La MV Symbols: Crossed warhammers, M in Triangle (on Green Manta), MV in Triangle on chest of alleged MV member.

Key Information: “CARTEL DE SANTA ROSA DE LIMA DE “EL MARRO” DEJA DECAPITADO A MIEMBRO DEL CJNG EN AUTOPISTA SALAMANCA-MORELIA.” Blog Del Narco. 7 December 2018, https://elblogdelnarco.com/2018/12/07/cartel-de-santa-rosa-de-lima-de-el-marro-deja-decapitado-a-miembro-del-cjng-en-autopista-salamanca-morelia/:

Narcomanta accompanies decapitated rival, threatening others from Jalisco (i.e., La MV) that this cleaning [i.e., social cleansing] is the fate of those that don’t align with el patron“el Marro. Signed S.R.L [Santa Rosa de Lima].”

 

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Image: CSRL Narcomanta. Symbols: Triangle, Warhammers.

Key Information: “Abandonan camioneta con artefacto explosivo en Celaya, Guanajuato.” Televisa News. 20 March 2019, https://noticieros.televisa.com/ultimas-noticias/hallan-artefacto-explosivo-camioneta-abandonada-celaya-guanajuato/:

Box containing explosives (artefactos explosivo) handmarked “Peligro” (Danger), S.R.L. “Explosivos” (Explosives) found in abandoned pickup truck in Celaya, Gto.

 

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Image: Box containing explosives marked with S.R.L. symbols found in abandoned pick up truck. Symbols: Triangles with Hammers, S.R.L.

Analysis

 

The Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) emerged from a 2017 split from the CJNG which is led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, aka “El Mencho.” As a result, this new cartel—the CSRL, led by José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, aka “El Marro”[6]— now dominates the illicit fuel trade in Guanajuato.[7] A number of symbols have become associated with the CSRL. These are summarized as follows:

 

Logo and Symbols

 

Guanajuato Outline: The outline of the state of Guanajuato symbolizing the cartel’s turf and reach.

 

Hammers: Warhammers, sledgehammers, or mallets symbolizing the cartel leader known as “El Marro” or “the Sledgehammer.”

 

M: The letter “M” in this case representing “El Marro.”

 

MV: La Mera Verga (La MV or La M.V.) is a CJNG cell and rival to the CSRL.

 

Puro GTO: Slogan meaning “pure,” “real,” or “only” Guanajuato.

 

Skull: The skull symbolizes death and mortality; specifically loyalty to death.

 

Triangle: A triangle (often red) representing the Triángulo Rojo of huachicol.

 

According to Chivis Martinez, a reporter at Borderland Beat, “The triangle represents El Triángulo del Huachicol’ or the area of influence by Marro regarding the Pemex pipelines. Marro in Spanish is sledgehammer or mallet.”[8]

 

The use of the triangle, therefore, is a reference to the ‘Triángulo Rojo’ (the red triangle) of huicichol. The term appears to have originated in Puebla, another Mexican state plagued by petroleum theft and illicit taps (tomas clandestinas). The term and associated symbology has become emblematic of huichicol (the illicit fuel trade) and thus a symbol for huichicoleros.[9]  The huachicol region of Guanajuato is also known as the ‘Triángulo Rojo’ and contains the contested cities of Salamanca, Irapuato, and Celaya.[10] The Triángulo Rojo of Guanajuato is also known as the ‘triángulo de las bermudas’ (Bermuda Triangle).[11]

 

As seen in the various ‘key information’ entries, the symbols and logos used by the cartel often are posted on banners or placards (known as mantas or narcomantas) to communicate threats and intimidate rivals. Often, the CSRL symbols are accompanied by the symbols of the group they seek to intimidate as seen in the use of the triangle surrounding the letters “MV” in the threat communications involving their rival the CJNG cell known as “La Mera Verga.”[12]

 

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Source: “Triángulo Rojo,” El Sol de Bajío. 8 March 2019, PressReader - El Sol de Bajío: 2019-03-08 - TRIÁNGULO ROJOhttps://www.pressreader.com/.../el-sol-de-bajio/.../28261744405912...

 

Guanajuato is contested turf for huachicoleros. The illicit fuel trade is lucrative and controlling turf brings profits, power, and the freedom of maneuver needed to collect street taxes (cobro de piso y derecho de piso) and exercise control of the plazas for the illcit fuel trade and other criminal enterprises such as narcomenudo (street level sales) and drug trafficking. As the CSRL continues to battle for control of turf and eradicate its rivals, it is likely to continue to brand itself as a means of projecting power and communicating threats. These symbols, therefore, are likely to remain a signature of the CSRL and an indicator of their activity and reach.

 

Sources

 

“Abandonan camioneta con artefacto explosivo en Celaya, Guanajuato.” Televisa News. 20 March 2019, https://noticieros.televisa.com/ultimas-noticias/hallan-artefacto-explosivo-camioneta-abandonada-celaya-guanajuato/.

 

@alec_diaz_, “@l4nd3t4, @vigilantehuaste, @jbustamanteriv,

@c4jimenez, Actualizando fotos de Salamanca Guanajuato.” Twitter. 25 May 2018, https://twitter.com/alec_diaz_/status/1000089463589036032.

 

Gerardo Cano, “Ejecutan a seis en Guanajuato y dejan narcomensaje a nombre de El Marro.”LNN (lanetanoticias). 23 January 2019, ejecutan-a-seis-en-guanajuato-y-dejan-narcomensaje-a-nombre-de-el-marro.

 

“Cártel paga a habitantes para proteger a ‘El Marro’.” Zócalo. 6 March 2019, http://www.zocalo.com.mx/new_site/articulo/cartel-paga-a-habitantes-para-proteger-a-el-marro.

 

“Cartel de Santa Rosa de lima e ‘El Marro’ decapita a miembro del CJNG.” México Código Rojo. 7 December 2018, https://mexicocodigorojo.com.mx/2018/12/cartel-de-santa-rosa-de-lima-de-el-marro-decapita-a-miembro-del-cjng/.

 

“CARTEL DE SANTA ROSA DE LIMA DE “EL MARRO” DEJA DECAPITADO A MIEMBRO DEL CJNG EN AUTOPISTA SALAMANCA-MORELIA.” Blog Del Narco. 7 December 2018, https://elblogdelnarco.com/2018/12/07/cartel-de-santa-rosa-de-lima-de-el-marro-deja-decapitado-a-miembro-del-cjng-en-autopista-salamanca-morelia/

 

“Guanajuato bajo fuego: Atacan a tiros la sede de la FGR en Irapuato.” Hilo Directo. 6 March 2019, http://hilodirecto.com.mx/guanajuato-bajo-fuego-atacan-a-tiros-la-sede-de-la-fgr-en-irapuato/.

 

“Qué es el cartel de Santa Rosa de Lima que amenaza a AMLO con ‘matar gente inocente’ en México.” La Opinión. 2 February 2019, https://laopinion.com/2019/02/02/amlo-y-el-combate-al-huachicol-que-es-el-cartel-de-santa-rosa-de-lima-que-amenaza-a-amlo-con-matar-gente-inocente-en-mexico/.

 

Dennys Roldán, “Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima: el conflicto contra el CJNG que azota a Guanajuato.” LNN (lanetanoticias). 10 December 2018, https://www.lanetanoticias.com/estados/351287/cartel-santa-rosa-de-lima-el-conflicto-contra-el-cjng-que-azota-a-guanajuato.

 

“SALGANLE AL TOPON: Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima Le Manda Mensaje a el CJNG.” México Código Rojo. 14 February 2019, 

https://mexicocodigorojo.com.mx/2019/02/salganle-al-topon-cartel-santa-rosa-de-lima-le-manda-mensaje-a-el-cjng/.

 

End Notes

 

[1] Héctor de Mauleón, “El Cártel del Huahicol.” El Universal. 17 January 2019, https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/columna/hector-de-mauleon/nacion/el-cartel-del-huachicol.

 

[2] The logo image here contains a skull above crossed warhammers above the initials S.R.L. for [Cartel de] Santa Rosa de Lima within the ‘huichicol triangle’. Found at  “SALGANLE AL TOPON: Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima Le Manda Mensaje a el CJNG.” México Código Rojo. 14 February 2019, 

https://mexicocodigorojo.com.mx/2019/02/salganle-al-topon-cartel-santa-rosa-de-lima-le-manda-mensaje-a-el-cjng/ and Tweet by Mexico Rojo (@Mexico_RojoMx): “El #Cartel de #SantaRosa de #Lima en #Guanajuato se deslinda de las #Narcomantas en un #Video audio que circula en #RedesSociales y señala al #CJNG de ser los responsables & les dicen que le salgan al Topon #MexicoRojo #Violencia #EUA #EU #USA #California #Texas #Austin #ElPasoTX,” 13 February 2019

at https://twitter.com/Mexico_RojoMx/status/1095872116832985088.

 

[3] “Cártel paga a habitantes para proteger a ‘El Marro’.” Zócalo. 6 March 2019,  http://www.zocalo.com.mx/new_site/articulo/cartel-paga-a-habitantes-para-proteger-a-el-marro : “Ciudad de México.- El cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima, liderado por José Antonio Yepez Ortiz, ‘El Marro’, tiene en su nómina a habitantes de la comunidad en el municipio de Villagrán, reveló Sophía Huett, comisionada de la Unidad de Análisis y Estrategia para la Seguridad Ciudadana de Guanajuato…En entrevista con Pascal Beltrán del Río para Imagen Radio, Huett dijo que durante el operativo denominado “Golpe de Timón” -implementado por la Secretaría de Marina y la Policía Estatal- “se encontró un sobre, tipo nómina, un sobre amarillo, con un sello muy particular, con una leyenda, donde se establece que cuando así se solicite a los familiares, deberán salir a manifestarse.” Essentially, “The Cartel of Santa Rosa de Lima, led by José Antonio Yepez Ortiz, ‘El Marro’, has community inhabitants in the municipality of Villagrán on its payroll, according to Sophia Huett, commissioner of the Analysis and Strategy Unit of Public Safety Guanajuato…In an interview with Pascal Beltrán del Río for Imagen Radio, Huett said that during the operation called "Golpe de Timón”—implemented by the Secretary of the Navy [Semar] and the State Police—“an envelope was found, a payroll, a yellow envelope, with a very particular seal, with a legend, where it is established that relatives, they must go out to demonstrate upon request.”

 

[4] The phrase “Se les notifica familiares deben salir a manifestarse cuando se requiera” means “relatives are notified that must go [out] and demonstrate when required.” This is essentially a command for persons associated with the cartel to muster up demonstrators to participate in blockades (bloqueos or narcobloqueos) to hinder enforcement operations directed against the cartel. Also see, “Cártel paga a habitantes para proteger a ‘El Marro’.” Zócalo. 6 March 2019,  http://www.zocalo.com.mx/new_site/articulo/cartel-paga-a-habitantes-para-proteger-a-el-marro ; “Guanajuato bajo fuego: Atacan a tiros la sede de la FGR en Irapuato.” Hilo Directo. 6 March 2019, http://hilodirecto.com.mx/guanajuato-bajo-fuego-atacan-a-tiros-la-sede-de-la-fgr-en-irapuato/; and “Acusan que ‘El Marro’ paga a familias para manifestarse ‘cuando se requieran’.” El Imparcial. 5 March 2019, https://www.elimparcial.com/Nacional/2019/03/05/1413518-Acusan-que-El-Marro-paga-a-familias-para-manifestarse-cuando-se-requieran.html.

 

[5] Manta Translation: “Esto les pasara por chaqueteros, puro GTO,” firmado por Gente del Sr. Marro” or This will happens to them for being chaqueteros, pure GTO, signed by Gente del Sr. Marro. (n.b. Chaqueteros means turncoats or traitors.)

[6] Rodrigo Gutiérrez González, “¿Quién es “El Marro”, el huachicolero que le hace frente al CJNG?” La Silla Rota. 6 May 2019, https://lasillarota.com/quien-es-el-marro-el-huachicolero-que-le-hace-frente-al-cjng/269066.

 

[7] Elena Reina, “México contra ‘El Marro’ la nueva lucha de poderes.” AM. 11 March 2019, https://www.am.com.mx/Mexico-contra-El-marro-la-nueva-lucha-de-poderes-l201903110003.html.

 

[8] Chivis Martinez, Borderland Beat. Email correspondence. 20 March 2019.

 

[9] See Jesús Badillo, “El Triángulo Rojo, mina de 'oro negro' de huachicoleros.” Milenio. 5 May 2017, https://www.milenio.com/estados/triangulo-rojo-mina-oro-negro-huachicoleros.

 

[10] See “Triángulo Rojo,” El Sol de Bajío. 8 March 2019, https://www.pressreader.com/mexico/el-sol-de-bajio/20190308.

 

[11] “¿Quiénes son los líderes del Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima y Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación detrás de la violencia en Guanajuato?” Vangaurdia MX. 30 August 2018, https://vanguardia.com.mx/articulo/quienes-son-los-lideres-del-cartel-santa-rosa-de-lima-y-cartel-jalisco-nueva-generacion.

 

[12] La Mera Verga (La MV or la M.V.) is a CJNG cell. The name is attributed to a corrido by Edson Zúñiga, “El Norteño” and refers to la mera verga sin patas a slang term for a pure cock with nerve or essentially a gutsy guy or “The Shit.” For background on the rivalry between the CSRL and La MV, see “CJNG deja narcomanta amenazando a todos los extorsionadores en Guanajuato.” MQ Noticias. 21 July 2018, http://www.mqnoticias.com.mx/2018/07/cjng-deja-narcomanta-amenazando-todos.html where the MV states, “Ya estamos aquí, somos el Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación putos que se encuentran en esta ciudad empezará la avanzada para terminar con todos ustedes. Por un estado libre de robos, tarjeteros, roba carga pesada, secuestros, extorsiones, cobro de piso, etc. ESTA PLAZA YA TIENE DUEÑO Firma la MV” and  “AMANECE NARCOMANTA EN EL JARDÍN PRINCIPAL DE VALLE DE SANTIAGO; AUTORIDADES YA NO SABEN NI QUE HACER.” El Informal. 20 March 2018, https://elinformalnoticias.com/2018/03/20/amanece-narcomanta-en-el-jardin-principal-de-valle-de-santiago-autoridades-ya-no-saben-ni-que-hacer/.

 

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“La MV” narcomanta claiming Guanajuato as CJNG turf and threatening “El Marro” and the CSRL. Source: El Informal, 20 March 2018.

 

Significance: Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CRSL)/Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, crime wars, El Marro, huachicoloros, Guanajuato, La Mera Verga (La MV, La M.V., Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación), narco-blockades, narcobloqueos, narcomanta

 

Additional Reading

 

John P. Sullivan and Robert J. Bunker, “Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #40: Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) Tunnels in Guanajuato Highlights Tactical Considerations in Underground Operations.” Small Wars Journal. 22 March 2019.

 

John P. Sullivan and Robert J. Bunker, “Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 27: Confronting the State—Explosive Artifacts, Threats, Huachicoleros, and Cartel Competition in Guanajuato, MX.” Small Wars Journal. 14 March 2019.

 

Robert J. Bunker, Alma Keshavarz and John P. Sullivan, “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.” Small Wars Journal. 5 March 2019.

 

Robert J. Bunker and John P. Sullivan, “Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 22: Spiritual Appropriation of San Judas Tadeo and Santo Niño de Atocha—Criminal Petitions and Santo Niño Huachicolero.” Small Wars Journal, 12 June 2017.

 

 

About the Author(s)

Dr. Robert J. Bunker is an Adjunct Research Professor, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College and Adjunct Faculty, Division of Politics and Economics, Claremont Graduate University. He holds university degrees in political science, government, social science, anthropology-geography, behavioral science, and history and has undertaken hundreds of hours of counterterrorism training. Past professional associations include Distinguished Visiting Professor and Minerva Chair at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College; Futurist in Residence, Training and Development Division, Behavioral Science Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy, Quantico, VA; Staff Member (Consultant), Counter-OPFOR Program, National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-West; and Adjunct Faculty, National Security Studies M.A. Program and Political Science Department, California State University, San Bernardino, CA. Dr. Bunker has hundreds of publications including Studies in Gangs and Cartels, with John Sullivan (Routledge, 2013),  Red Teams and Counterterrorism Training, with Stephen Sloan (University of Oklahoma, 2011), and edited works, including Global Criminal and Sovereign Free Economies and the Demise of the Western Democracies: Dark Renaissance (Routledge, 2014), co-edited with Pamela Ligouri Bunker; Criminal Insurgencies in Mexico and the Americas: The Gangs and Cartels Wage War (Routledge, 2012); Narcos Over the Border: Gangs, Cartels and Mercenaries (Routledge, 2011); Criminal-States and Criminal-Soldiers (Routledge, 2008); Networks, Terrorism and Global Insurgency (Routledge, 2005); and Non-State Threats and Future Wars (Routledge, 2002).

John P. Sullivan was a career police officer. He retired as a lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He is also an adjunct researcher at the Vortex Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia; a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Global Observatory of Transnational Criminal Networks; a senior research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism (CAST); a Global Fellow at Stratfor (2018); and an instructor at the Safe Communities Institute at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. He is co-editor of Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities (Xlibris, 2019), Countering Terrorism and WMD: Creating a Global Counter-Terrorism Network (Routledge, 2006) and Global Biosecurity: Threats and Responses (Routledge, 2010) and co-author of Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency: A Small Wars Journal-El Centro Anthology (iUniverse, 2011), Studies in Gangs and Cartels (Routledge, 2013), and The Rise of The Narcostate (Mafia States) (Xlibris, 2018). He completed the CREATE Executive Program in Counter-Terrorism at the University of Southern California and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the College of William and Mary, a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research, and a PhD from the Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) in Barcelona. His doctoral thesis was “Mexico’s Drug War: Cartels, Gangs, Sovereignty and the Network State.” His current research focus is the impact of transnational organized crime on sovereignty in Mexico and other countries.