Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beltran Leyva Organization


The Beltran Leyva family has a long history in the narcotics business. Until this past year, the organization was part of the Sinaloa Federation, for which it controlled access to the U.S. border in Sonora state (among other responsibilities). By the time Alfredo Beltran Leyva was arrested in January, however, the Beltran Leyva organization’s alliance with Sinaloa was over. (It is rumored his arrest resulted from a Sinaloa betrayal.)

Before this year, the Beltran Leyva brothers served as high-ranking members of the organization with many people under their command and plenty of infrastructure to branch out on their own. Under the leadership of Arturo Beltran Leyva, the organization moved quickly to secure strategic narcotics transport routes in the states of Sinaloa, Durango, Sonora, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero and Morelos. This attempt to conquer territory from their former Sinaloa partners sparked a wave of violence.



The Beltran Leyva brothers’ Colombian cocaine supplier, Ever Villafane Martinez, was arrested in Morelos state in August. Since then, however, the organization has pursued a relationship with Victor and Dario Espinoza Valencia of Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel, though the details of this relationship are unclear.

The Beltran Leyva organization has quickly become one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. Not only have they shown themselves capable of trafficking drugs and going toe-to-toe with the Sinaloa cartel, they also have demonstrated a willingness to order targeted assassinations of high-ranking government officials.


The most notable of these was the May 9 assassination of acting federal police director Edgar Millan Gomez. The Beltran Leyva organization also occasionally has secured the cooperation of other drug trafficking organizations such as Los Zetas, Gulf, the Juarez cartel and a faction of the Arellano Felix organization (AFO) in Tijuana. However, these alliances are tentative at best and appear to have been forged mainly to counter the powerful influence of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera’s Sinaloa cartel.

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