El Chapo vive en la sierra de Durango
The Sinaloa cartel is the most powerful drug trafficking organization in Latin America and its leader, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is living in the mountains of Durango in Mexico, said a senior official of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
The official, who requested anonymity, said "El Chapo" lives in hiding “just like Osama Bin Laden” in the mountains of Durango, a state in northern Mexico.
"He lives in very difficult terrain in the mountains and knows all the people, and if there is any movement by someone he’ll know.” said the agent.
The high level DEA official was participating in the XVIII International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) that was held thru Thursday in the resort city of Cancun.
The drug cartel led by "El Chapo", one of the most wanted criminals in Mexico and one of the country's richest men according to Forbes magazine, "is certainly at this time the most powerful in the region and Mexico,” said the officer.
In the U.S., Mexican cartels tend to focus their drug distribution networks in certain cities and areas of the country (the Tijuana cartel in California, the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas in the east and to a lesser extent in the south, the Juarez cartel in the center), but the Sinaloa cartel embraces almost the entire nation, he added.
The Sinaloa cartel’s supremacy stems from the fact that they defeated the Beltran Leyva organization, which has been severely targeted and diminished by the Mexican authorities, and the fracture between the Gulf cartel and its former partners Los Zetas, both of whom are now embroiled in a costly war to the death, said the agent.
Also, the Tijuana cartel has suffered heavy blows from the authorities, and La Familia Michoacana has not recovered from the death in a police action of one of its top leaders, Nazario “el Chayo” Moreno González.
In addition, the Sinaloa cartel has overtaken the Colombian cartels in the transport and sales of cocaine, and the production of methamphetamine and marijuana,
"We hear, but have no solid evidence, that Sinaloa cartel members are involved in the cultivation of coca, for example in Peru and Bolivia," he said.
On the capture of Mexican drug lord, the DEA official said it is not an issue of "how" he will fall, but "when", because the work undertaken by Mexican authorities to catch drug kingpins "is very good."
Currently in Mexico there are many territorial fights over who will take control of some cities in which the actions of the Mexican security forces have left a power vacuum in the drug trafficking organizations, added the U.S. official.
In Guadalajara, for example, the recent death of drug kingpin Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel by the Mexican Army, the disintegration of the band known as "los Gueros” and the capture and the extradition to the U.S. of Oscar Orlando "El Lobo" Nava Valencia has left the city at the mercy of a new generation of drug traffickers such as "La Resistencia.”
These are "New groups fighting for control" and "smaller cartels composed of former members of other organizations,” he added.
According to the DEA agent at least 20 to 25 new small trafficking organizations, such as the Independent Cartel Acapulco (CIDA), are now operating in Mexico.
"In this fluid moment, the most important city which everyone is focused on is Guadalajara," he said.