Tagged: cartel violence

Tracking Mexico’s Cartels in 2018

(STRATFOR) — By Scott Stewart, VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor


Factional competition resulting from the breakup of large organized crime organizations continues to drive violence in Mexico.
The lucrative fentanyl trade, built on the backbone of methamphetamine and opiate smuggling networks, is furthering the expansion of criminal groups in Tierra Caliente.
While most cartel violence is directed at other cartels and the government, the widespread use of military-grade weapons raises the risk of collateral damage.

Since 2006, Stratfor has chronicled the dynamics of the organizations that make up the complex mosaic of organized crime in Mexico in the form of an annual cartel report. Back when this process began, the cartel landscape was much simpler, with only a handful of major groups to track. But by 2013, the splintering of the cartels into smaller factions had made it difficult to analyze them the same way. Indeed, many of the once-dominant umbrella groups, such as the Gulf cartel, have fragmented into several, often competing, organizations. In response, the focus of the analysis shifted to the clusters of smaller groups that emanate from a specific geographic area. Nevertheless, the organizations that arose in the Tierra Caliente region and in the states of Tamaulipas and Sinaloa remain on the radar.
2017 in Review

The dynamics outlined in last year’s cartel forecast have changed little over the past year. Organized crime organizations in Mexico remain heavily fragmented, and this fragmentation is driving most of the violence in the country. As noted, there really is no Gulf cartel anymore. Instead, localized gangs that arose from the remnants of that once powerful cartel are now at war with one another over control of the smuggling routes, retail drug sales and other criminal activity formerly monopolized by the group. This drove the heavy violence in Reynosa during 2017 and in other parts of the state of Tamaulipas. The violence spawned by the fractionalization also led to a record number of murders last year: 29,168, which surpassed the previous record of 27,213, set in 2011.


Mexican border city suffers 60 cartel murders in November

(BREITBART) — REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — The raging cartel violence in this border city resulted in 60 murders in November.

Rival factions of the Gulf Cartel continue their fight for control of drug trafficking territories and access to Texas. The 60 victims include military and police officers killed in shootouts as well as innocent civilians killed in the crossfire.

Breitbart Texas has been tracking the murders and executions that have been taking place in Reynosa since early May. At that time, two rival factions of the Gulf Cartel went to war for territorial control. Since May, the violence has left more than 324 victims. The fighting followed the death of former regional leader Juan Manuel “Toro” Loiza Salinas, a ruthless cartel boss who terrorized Reynosa for almost two years until he was gunned down by Mexican Marines.

After El Toro’s death, another Gulf Cartel commander named Petronilo “Panilo” Moreno Flores claimed control of the city. However, a faction claiming to be relatives and followers of the late leader led by Luis Alberto “Pelochas” Blanco Flores and Toro’s nephew Humberto “Betillo” Loza Mendez, who also went by the name of Alberto Salinas, have been fighting against Panilo’s forces.

The fighting resulted in fierce gun battles where convoys of gunmen clash along the city’s main avenues, those firefights have killed not only gunmen but also police officers and military personnel tasked with keeping the peace. The firefights also led to various innocent bystanders being killed or wounded by stray bullets.

The fighting between cartel forces also manifested itself in a dramatic increase in kidnappings and executions. As Breitbart’s Texas has reported, cartel gunmen have resorted to incinerating the bodies of their victims as well as to using shallow pits to dump the bodies of their rivals.

The most recent casualty took place on Friday early morning when a State police officer died in a gun battle. A squad of state cops was responding to a call of help from military forces who had been battling a team of gunmen. Two cartel gunmen also died during that clash in the Jarachinas Sur neighborhood.


Mexican cartels in Michoacan carry out 20 executions in one day

(BREITBART) — MORELIA, Michoacan — Mexican authorities appear powerless to stop the cartel violence that continues to rage in one southern state. The fighting between rival criminal organizations left 20 people dead in a single day.

The executions on Friday followed a week of gun battles that continue spreading terror in this state located west of Mexico City. Despite the large-scale gun battles, state authorities continue ignoring the violence. The government has yet to issue any security alerts.


Cartel gunmen attack funeral procession in Mexican border state

(BREITBART) — CIUDAD VICTORIA, Tamaulipas — The raging cartel violence that continues to envelop this border state took an odd turn when gunmen killed two underage brothers and an adult woman who were taking part in the funeral procession of a recently murdered cartel member.

The multiple homicides took place south of this city along the highway that connects with the rural community of Soto La Marina.

Those attacked were taking part in the funeral procession of 20-year-old Jose Ramon Sandoval Garcia who was murdered in his home last week. Jose Ramon was linked to one of the cartels that operate in the city and was believed to have carried out local extortions. During the funeral procession, a team of rival cartel gunmen riding in various SUVs pulled up next to the procession and opened fire.

When the attack took place, the two 13-year-old brothers, Adolfo and Angel Ramizez Avalos, were struck by multiple bullets as they rode in the back of an older Ford F-150.

The sudden attack sent others fleeing in a panic as they attempted to avoid being shot by automatic bursts of gunfire. On the side of the road next to a barb wire fence, authorities located the body of the unidentified woman who appears to have been hit by a stray bullet and collapsed.

One of those in attendance rushed to a local gas station to call for help, asking for the military and the red cross to respond. By the time emergency personnel arrived, the two teenagers had died. Paramedics were able to tend to another teen named Cristian Azael Perez Torres, shot twice in the groin area and was rushed to the local children’s hospital in critical condition.


Mexican government, media silent as civil war executions become everyday event

(BREITBART) — CIUDAD VICTORIA, Tamaulipas — The Mexican government and local media remain silent while cartel violence and executions have become a common occurrence in this city as two rival factions of the Los Zetas cartel continue to fight for control.

While government officials and news outlet remain largely silent, citizens journalists continue to use social media and messaging applications to warn each other about the impending dangers outside of their front door.

As Breitbart Texas previously reported, two rival factions of the Los Zetas cartel, known as Vieja Escuela Zeta/Grupo Bravo and Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) have been fighting for control of this city. The violent turf war has resulted in a regular beheadings and gory executions.

One of the more disturbing trends deals with the increasing number of underage teenagers who have joined the ranks of organized crime. Last week, Mexican federal police tracked down and rescued a kidnapping victim. During the rescue attempt, one of the three kidnappers tried to fight off authorities and was quickly gunned down. The other two kidnappers were identified as being only 14- and 17-years-old respectively.