Original Article in Spanish by Proceso magazine and appeared on MundoNarco
El Mayo on the left, El Viceroy on the right.
In September of 2004 in a commercial plaza of Culiacan, Sinaloa: Rodolfo Carrillo Fuentes, alias El Nino de Oro, (the golden child) was executed by sicarios. It was an act that was attributed to Joaquin Guzman Loera, El Chapo, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Ismael El Mayo Zambada Garcia was in possession of the body when he received a phone call from the dead man's brother: Vicente Carrillo, alias El Viceroy, who was aware that El Mayo was providing security for El Chapo.
It was at that moment that Carrillo asked him directly: Are you with me? Or are you against me? Zambada answered: I'm with you, of course. It was then that Carrillo demanded El Mayo bring him the head of El Chapo.
The head never made its way to Carrillo, and that was how the war between the cartels of Sinaloa and Juarez began.
The death of the previous leader of the Carrillo Fuentes organization, Amado, alias, El Senior de los Cielos (the lord of the sky), in July of 1997, paved the way for his brother Vicente - then known as El Coronel - to take control of the family business.
Vicente's character and demeanor was the factor that drove the associates of his brother Amado Carrillo Fuentes - El Mayo Zambada and Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, El Azul among others - away from the Juarez cartel. They began operating on their own in the pacific area of the country, it was even then, the former allies of the Carrillo Fuentes organization didn't want to risk their security by relying on a man who acted impulsively.
Without support from his primary associates, El Viceroy trained his sicarios to be as violent as he himself was. His right hand man would prove to be his nephew, Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of Amado who was captured towards the end of February in 2009 and charged with money laundering.
Vicente appeared to stand all by himself; his worst moment came just after El Chapo escaped from the penal colony in Puento Grande, Jalisco.
During this time, the hegemony of the Carrillo Fuentes family over the drug business was at risk of being overrun by the other capos, among them El Mayo, as they planned to take the territories by force from the weakened cartel.
These details are revealed in a letter dated oct 13th 2004, signed by a sicario named Rodolfo Huerta, who worked for the Beltran Leyva brothers.
The gunman delivered the letter the the office of the Presidency of the Republic on the 15th of October 2004, only days after he overheard a conversation between top capos, in reference to a meeting that took place in a hotel suite in the city of Monterrey. There they planned various executions and consolidation of the resources to make Sinaloa the most powerful cartel in Mexico. Acoording to the letter, this was done with the political support of the establishment, at the time led by President Vicente Fox.
"Approximately three months ago, in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, There was a meeting between the heads of organized crime. Among the notable attendants were Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada, Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, alias 'El Azul', and Arturo Beltrán."
The objective of this meeting was to finalize the details: El Mayo, El Azul and El Chapo would monopolize the narco trade through the consolidation of their networks and armies of sicarios as the heads of the Sinaloa cartel. They also agreed to exterminate Los Zetas and the Tijuana cartel.
Despite being abandoned by his three top capos and other emblematic figures of the Juarez cartel, Vicente Carrillo ingrained himself into the political structure of Chihuahua. On his side was former governor Patricio Martinez and during its second peak it controlled the entire police force of the state and the General Prosecutor Jesús Chito Solís.
In the last five years, the Juarez cartel has established alliances with Los Zetas and Tijuana cartel (CAF -Arellano Felix cartel now led by El Ingeniero, Fernando Sanchez). It has also formed itself into a powerful, tightly run criminal organization that controls over twenty states in the country, fortifying its security situation with help from La Linea, Los Aztecas, and Los Mexicas, who have spread their brand of terror through kidnapping and murder.
Actually, under the leadership of Vicente Carrillo, the Juarez cartel has been able to maintain control of the city - the most important point of entry into the country - but the bloody war with the Sinaloa cartel rages on.