Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Mexican Government Says It Does Not Favor Sinaloa Drug Cartel
The Mexican government does not favor the Sinaloa drug cartel, which is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, and has focused on “systematically weakening” all criminal organizations without “making distinctions,” a high-level security official said.
Guzman, one of Mexico’s most-wanted drug traffickers, “is a fugitive whose criminal organization harms society,” federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire said in a posting on his blog on the Office of the President’s Web site.
“Like other extremely dangerous criminals, he is being pursued by federal forces with the same determination and firmness, and his criminal organization is also being battled with the same severity as other criminal gangs,” Poire said in his latest statement targeting the supposed “myths” about the war on drugs.
One rumor that has gained traction in some sectors of Mexican society contends that the federal government favors the Sinaloa cartel, which some officials refer to as the Pacific cartel and is the country’s oldest and largest drug trafficking organization, working more diligently against other gangs.
An indicator of the government’s commitment to fighting all drug traffickers “are the severe blows that (the Sinaloa cartel) has sustained to its operational, logistics and financial structure” since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006, Poire said.
“We can assert today that the Pacific criminal group, led by Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, is weaker,” the federal security spokesman said, adding that the arrests of several of the gang’s leaders “have resulted in decisive blows” to its command structure and “criminal expansion.”
Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993, pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.
The drug lord, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.
The fall of essential cartel leaders, such as Jesus Zambada Garcia, Vicente Zambada Niebla and Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel Villarreal, as well as local boss Teodoro “El Teo” Garcia Simental, have been a blow to the criminal organization, Poire said.
“The federal government has made it clear that criminals do not get deals or impunity, they are brought to justice,” the federal security spokesman said.
The security forces’ operations against Guzman have reduced “the possibility of reconstructing the Pacific organization in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima,” Poire said.
The Sinaloa gang’s leadership had a falling out in 2008 with the faction led by the Beltran Leyva brothers, former allies who formed their own cartel, and with some members of the Milenio cartel last year, “reducing its capabilities and diminishing its area of influence,” the federal security spokesman said.
The war against the rival Sinaloa and Juarez cartels in Ciudad Juarez, a northern border city that has become Mexico’s murder capital, is “taking gradual steps toward an improvement in the security situation” in the city, Poire said.
Drug seizures “progressively reduce the resources used by these criminals to compromise the security of Mexicans and attack their tranquility,” the federal security spokesman said.
The seizure of 134 tons of marijuana, one of the largest on record, in Tijuana, a border city in the northwestern state of Baja California, was a blow to the Sinaloa cartel, Poire said.
Forbes magazine estimates that Guzman has a fortune of $1.14 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.