The animosity between Chapo Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel and “La Linea,” as the Juárez cartel is also known, is evident as the death toll mounts, including several corpses recently found with threatening notes aimed at Guzman’s associates.
“This will happen to those who keep supporting El Chapo. From La Linea and those who follow it,” stated a note found next to two men slain in the Loma Blanca area outside of Juárez.
A high-ranking U.S. anti-narcotics official has said that to survive the recent upheaval, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes allied himself with reputed drug trafficker Heriberto “Lazca” Lazcano, one of three leaders of the Gulf cartel.
Juárez is only one battleground in a war taking place across Mexico as narco-gangs battle each other during an unprecedented crackdown by the military and federal forces.
You have the president of Mexico who is doing something no other president has done before, he has basically declared war on the cartels.
While Calderón has made his intentions clear, so have the cartels.
Hit lists naming police officers are commonly found in Juárez which is experiencing a rash of gangland-type shootings.
Mexico and anti-narcotics experts said the conflict has three fronts:
- Intra-cartel: Internal struggles and the elimination of “traitors” within an organization.
- Inter-cartel: Fighting between different organizations.
- Government vs. cartels: The military and law enforcement’s fight against drug organizations.
The foundation of the current war in Mexico is a drug-trafficking problem, which grew in size, sophistication and ruthlessness over decades, all while being funded by the multibillion-dollar U.S. drug market.
Former Mexican presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Ernesto Zedillo allowed this problem to get worse and worse and allowed these cartels to get more sophisticated and powerful over time. The number one problem in Mexico today is corruption.
Corruption has allowed drug traffickers to elude authorities, and when some cartel leaders have been sent to prison, their stays have been short.
Some say that the recent violence may be an indication that the tide is turning against the cartels.
At a border governors conference in Mexico City last week, Calderón asked that the U.S. do its part in the fight against organized crime and illegal gun trafficking.
“It is a problem whose origin is the American consumer, but there are those who pretend that Mexico should confront and resolve it alone,” Calderón said in Spanish. “The battle in Mexico daily costs the lives of Mexican police; nevertheless, the majority of the consumers are Americans.”