(THE DAILY BEAST) — Mexico is a place of many rumors and much chisme, or gossip. One of the most frightening rumors you hear these days—especially given the tragic, ISIS-inspired shooting in Orlando—is that members of the so-called Islamic State have infiltrated the cartels, seeking to recruit hardened sicarios, hit men, to their cause.
ISIS’s nefarious motive, naturally, would be to use the cartels’ drug shipping networks and smuggling tunnels to ferret terrorists, or even weapons of mass destruction, across the U.S. border.
Fortunately such tales remains nothing but chisme—and not very plausible rumor mongering at that.
Although some far-right media outlets in the U.S. have presented the unholy alliance of jihadist warrior and Aztec assassin as likely, if not inevitable, so far there’s absolutely no evidence behind such claims.
(Full disclosure: I spent eight months out of the last year reporting up close with both law enforcement and the cartels in Mexico and, after much searching for just such a headline-grabbing, cartel-ISIS link, was unable to find so much as a prayer rug. Or anybody who knew what a prayer rug was.)
In fact, the two groups actually seem more like natural enemies.
Although the much-published story about Chapo Guzmán threatening to launch open war on ISIS turned out to be false, there’s a reason the meme seemed so believable when it broke.
That’s because it’s hard to imagine a wealth-loving, famously decadent crime lord like Guzmán—or any of his fellows—getting along with their dour, tee-totaling, thobe-wearing counterparts. The Mexican press have also had great fun at ISIS’s expense, wittily skewering the unlikely Islamic invasion.