Tagged: Tierra Caliente

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.


Narco-terror in southern Mexico — 19 dead in 3 days

(BREITBART) — MORELIA, Michoacan — Narco-terror is spreading over the rural area of the state now known as “Tierra Caliente” or “hot lands.” In three days, cartel gunmen have murdered 19 victims — 14 of those victims were beheaded and dismembered. Authorities in Michoacan tried to diminish the raging violence by claiming the murders are isolated incidents.

The violence began over the weekend when suspected members of the Nueva Familia Michoacana (New Michoacan Family) kidnapped and murdered Alonzo “Papas” Renteria Andrade. The murder victim is the brother of the now jailed kingpin, Ignacio “Cenizo” Renteria Andrade. In his time, El Cenizo served as one of the top leaders of the Knight’s Templars Cartel. As Breitbart Texas reported, authorities arrested El Cenizo earlier this year in Michoacan.

After the execution of El Papas, cartel members unleashed a wave of violence in the region leaving 19 casualties in their wake. The assassins dismembered 14 of their victims’ bodies. Intelligence sources revealed to Breitbart Texas that the violence is tied to a new war between the Nueva Familia Michoacana and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). The CJNG cartel is the group El Papas joined forces with.

According to neighbors who witnessed El Papas kidnapping, multiple SUV’s with gunmen dressed in military style uniforms rolled into the town of Las Yeguas. When they arrived, the gunmen surrounded a house where Renteria and two of his bodyguards had been hiding. Neither Renteria nor his two guards, Miguel Angel Lopez and Gaspar Solorio, put up any resistance when the gunmen showed up because they mistook them for Mexican authorities.


Why the military will never beat Mexico’s cartels

(THE DAILY BEAST) — “Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war,” wrote Norman Mailer in Armies of the Night. That phrase, applied to Vietnam almost 50 years ago, has come back into my head any number of times during the eight months of the last year I’ve spent covering the Mexican drug war.

For most of that time I’ve been on the front lines of the conflict—often in and around the sun-scorched and cartel-dominated valley called Tierra Caliente—where the daily suspension of one’s reasoning faculties can be a useful coping mechanism.

Even so, at times I’ve found it very hard to support the Mexican government’s increasingly surreal approach to drug war tactics and strategy.

For example, on a recent trip to the village of Dos Aguas, high in the Sierra Madre mountains of Michoacán state, I was told by locals that there were no police or military forces present in the vicinity at all. Not even a sheriff. The town had formerly been protected by a group of vigilantes known as autodefensas, but the state government ordered the group to disband last February under penalty of arrest.

Now that the vigilantes are gone, Dos Aguas is run by a chieftain from the Knights Templar cartel, who calls himself “El Tena.” He travels the mountains in a caravan of more than a dozen trucks, led by a pick-up with a .50 caliber machine gun mounted in the bed. El Tena goes where he likes and does what he pleases—including running meth labs and illegal logging operations in the sierra.