The Sinaloa cartel, spearheaded by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, is behind 19,097 murders committed in the past four years, mainly because their attempts to expand into other regions has led to conflicts with four other criminal organizations.
A document prepared by the Mexican government and acquired by MILENIO (Report on the phenomenon of crime in Mexico) reveals that during the period from December 1, 2006 to July 31, 2010, there were 28,353 murders linked to organized crime.
Of this total, 22,701 “narco” homicides have their origin in seven regional disputes between drug gangs, while the rest (5,652) were not linked to any particular criminal organization.
The homicides are concentrated in 162 municipalities out of the 2,456 that make up the country.
According to the document the bloodiest fighting occurs in Chihuahua, Durango and parts of Sinaloa, where cells loyal to the Sinaloa cartel face off against cells loyal to the Juarez cartel, headed by Vicente “El Viceroy” Carrillo Fuentes.
The conflicts between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels have led to 8,236 murders, mostly in Chihuahua, which account for 36 percent of executions in the country. These are the product of “old rivalries and family betrayals" as well as for control of Ciudad Juárez, a major port of departure for drugs into the U.S.
The wave of murders in that state broke out in the last months of 2007 and early 2008 with peaks of violence occurring in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the third quarter in 2009. 2010 has been marked "by the radicalization of aggression against authority, including the explosion of a car bomb targeting the Federal Police" and an increasing rate of homicides.
The second deadliest conflict being fought is between the Sinaloa cartel and the organization of the Beltran Leyva brothers, which has resulted in 5,864 deaths or 26 percent of the total.
The problem between these groups originated from the separation of the Beltran Leyva organization from the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
In 2008, the imprisonment of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, “El Mochomo”, led to the split between “El Chapo” Joaquin Guzman and the Beltran Leyvas, generating a spiral of violence in Sinaloa, Nayarit, Sonora, Durango and parts of Jalisco and Guerrero.
The dispute between the Sinaloa cartel and the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas is the third major conflict and has resulted in the deaths of 3,199 people or 14 percent of homicides (since early 2010 the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels have entered into an alliance against Los Zetas).
The document states that the above are the largest criminal organizations in Mexico and have been in disputes over several “plazas” since before the start of the Calderon administration. These “plazas” include Durango, Coahuila, Sinaloa (where trafficking routes to the northern border are located) and Guerrero, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and southern Chiapas south (where drugs enter from South America).
The fourth conflict between drug organizations is between the Sinaloa cartel and the Arellano Felix organization.
The document says that following the arrest of the Arellano Felix brothers, leaders of the Tijuana cartel, the organization split into two factions, one allied with Joaquin "El Chapo” Guzman and other remaining loyal to the Arellano Felix cartel. This conflict has left 1,798 dead, representing 8 percent of the total.
Other conflicts include La Familia Michoacana against the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, which has resulted in 1,744 thousand killed or 8 percent.
(Since early 2010 the LFM has been part of the Sinaloa/Gulf cartel alliance against Los Zetas)
Less than 10 years ago criminal cells in Michoacan organization loyal to the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas split off and formed La Familia Michoacana and became independent. The war between these groups began in 2006 in Michoacan and has spread to Edomex (the state of Mexico), Guerrero and Guanajuato.
Meanwhile, the breakup of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas over differences for control of markets and routes in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon has generated 1,328 deaths or 6 percent (violence in both states has been increasing since the report was published in July)
Conflicts between La Familia Michoacana, the Beltran Leyva group and cells loyal to “La Barbie” have led to 532 deaths, mainly in Guerrero and Morelos. (violence between these groups has also seen an increase since the report was published).