Narco banners hung by Los Zetas and celebrating the blow against the Gulf Cartel with the death of "Tony Tormenta" appeared in various cities of Northeast Mexico Saturday morning. The destabilization of the Gulf Cartel may lead to an escalation of the conflict between both rival groups
Since the rupture with Los Zetas, Mario Cardenas Guillen "El Gordo", brother of "Tony Tormenta", has been among the top leadership in the Gulf Cartel.
According to information revealed by the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) Mario Cárdenas Guillén “El Gordo”, a brother of Osiel and Ezekuiel Antonio Cárdenas Guillén, is poised to take the leadership of the Gulf Cartel alongside Eduardo Costilla “El Coss” and continue the conflict with Los Zetas over the territories of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Veracruz, Tabasco, Yucatan and Quintana Roo.
Mario Cardenas Guillen was arrested in 1995 on charges of organized crime and drug trafficking and spent 11 years in prison, being released in 2007. While incarcerated in the Cereso II prison in Matamoros, “El Gordo” continued to organize the shipment of large amounts of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. from an automobile body repair shop within the prison walls.
After the DEA exerted pressure on the Mexican government, “El Gordo” was charged by the PGR with drug trafficking from the prison in Matamoros and was transferred in 2003 to the maximim security Puente Grande prison in Jalisco. After serving his sentence he was released in 2007.
For more insight into the corruption of the Mexican prison system, which persists to this day, and for information on the notorious reign of Mario Cardenas at the Matamoros Cereso II prison, which he literally ran as a Gulf Cartel safehouse during his incarceration, read the following article in Spanish:
“Cuando la prision era una fiesta”
After leaving prison in 2007 “El Gordo” maintained a low profile and rejoined the Gulf Cartel where he has headed operations for the cartel on the Mexico-Guatemala border and also organized drug shipments into the U.S. for his brother “Tony Tormenta”.
“El Gordo” is also believed to be the motivating force behind the splintering of Los Zetas from the Gulf Cartel in February of this year which has led to hundreds of deaths.
PGR information reveals that following the 2003 arrest of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who continued to lead the Gulf Cartel organization from the maximum security prison of La Palma, his brother Ezekuiel Antonio “Tony Tormenta” became the figurehead leader of the cartel, Heriberto Lazcano “El Lazca” continued to control the Los Zetas paramilitary arm and Eduardo Costilla “El Coss” ran the arm of the organization responsible for the control of corrupt state and municipal police forces in Tamaulipas.
However, “Tony Tormenta” weakened his position as leader of the cartel due to his addiction to drugs, women and gambling and lack of control of the criminal organization and began to lose power to Los Zetas, led by “El Lazca”.
Los Zetas, who were recruited by Osiel Cárdenas Guillén in the 1990’s, was the paramilitary enforcer arm of the cartel composed of former military and judicial police.
After Osiel’s extradition to the United States in January 2007 Los Zetas became increasingly powerful and friction increased between them and the Cárdenas Guillén faction who was joined by Eduardo Costilla. By the final months of 2009, groups loyal to Mario and Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen were beginning to clash with Zeta cells.
U.S. intelligence reports at the time revealed that the Gulf Cartel was held together by weak agreements that were broken on January 18, 2010, when a group led by Eduardo Costilla killed Victor Mendoza Peña “El Concord 3” in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.
Mendoza Peña was the right arm of Miguel Treviño Morales “El Z-40”, who is underneath Heriberto Lazcano in the Zeta heirarchy.
The DEA learned that the murder of “El Concord 3” was allegedly committed by Samuel Flores Borrego “El Metro 3”, a former state judicial police agent who is identified as the head of Gulf Cartel operations in Miguel Aleman and Reynosa.
The assassination of “El Concord 3” caused Miguel Treviño Morales to issue an ultimatum to Eduardo Costilla to hand over the murderer, giving a deadline of Monday, January 25. El Coss did not respond. This ultimately led to the split between the two factions of the Gulf Cartel.
According to DEA and Mexican intelligence agencies there has been a recomposition of criminal organizations in Mexico after the Gulf Cartel-Los Zetas split.
A new partnership of conveniencehas been formed between the organizations known as La Familia Michoacana, the Gulf Cartel, Cartel del Milenio (Los Valencia), Sinaloa cartel and a faction of the Tijuana cartel headed by Teodoro Garcia Simental, who has since been arrested by Federal Police.
The other rival large bloc consists of the Juarez Cartel led by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes “El Viceroy”, The remnants of the Beltran Leyva organization led by Héctor Beltrán Leyva “El H”, Los Zetas and the Tijuana Cartel now led by Fernando Sanchez Arellano “El Ingeniero”