Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Bloody readjustments: the view from Washington

Thursday, April 4, 2013 |

Proceso/El Diario de Coahuila (4-1-13)

Jesus Esquivel

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

Despite the daily confrontations and murders in northern Mexico, the U.S. military and a drug trafficking analyst argue that extreme violence associated with organized crime has gradually shifted away from the border area to settle in the center of the country. It involves, they insist, a readjustment by the cartels and is not the result of a successful government strategy.

WASHINGTON, DC (Apro).-- The violence that is lashing the State of Mexico, Michoacan, Morelos, Hidalgo, and other states in central Mexico, is due to a dispute over territory among drug trafficking cartels, and is not the result of the government's purported success in its battle against them in the northern states, claim United States specialists.

"There has been a slight decrease in the levels of violence in the states in northern Mexico, but it's anecdotal. There's extreme violence in other parts of the country due to territorial disputes among the cartels," says Jeffrey Davis, a U.S. Army captain and spokesperson for the Northern Command (Northcom) in an interview with Proceso.

Davis agrees with the analysis that his superior, General Charles Jacoby, Commander of Northcom, presented Wednesday, February 20, to the Congressional Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives.

"The violence situation has changed a little; today there is less of it in the north and more in states in Mexico's interior. There has been a percentage decrease in 2013 (in the north), but it has shifted to, and increased, in other parts of the country," Jacoby stated in his testimony before U.S. congress.

The same day that Jacoby was presenting his analysis regarding narco violence in northern Mexico, one of the most intense confrontations between suspected drug traffickers took place in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

"The testimony of General Jacoby in Congress was based on what he observes from day to day in Mexico: I insist, it is simply an anecdotal evaluation. What is true is that there has been a change from north to south with respect to the level of violence," points out Davis in a telephone conversation.

Northcom, the arm of the United States Department of Defense tasked with watching and monitoring everything that happens in an area that runs from Mexico to Canada, admits that so far this year "there was a slight decrease, in statistical terms,"  in the levels of narco violence in the Mexican states on the border with the United States.

The reasons

Consulted on the causes of the violence that afflicts the state of Mexico, in particular, the state governed by Enrique Pena Nieto for six years, a specialist in the United States comments: "It's due to the dispute between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas for territory."

An expert on intelligence matters and with a broad knowledge of Mexico's drug trafficking problems, the specialist -- who spoke only on the condition that his identity not be revealed-- agrees with Northcom with respect to the reality of the narco violence in the country's north.

In the States of Mexico, Hidalgo, Michoacan, and other states in central Mexico, including states in the south that border Guatemala and Belize-- according to intelligence reports analyzed by the specialist-- the narco violence was provoked and caused by Los Zetas.

"When Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano was killed by the Navy (October 7, 2012), Los Zetas were left without a leader who knew about military tactics. In order to survive, they began to move towards the center of the country, where they have come face to face with the Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Michoacana," he emphasizes.  

According to this expert, the almost nomadic actions of Los Zetas are because Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, "El Z-40", (leader of the group) lacks the expertise and military skills that his partner had.

"He chose the easiest paths to maintain certain power; he associated with Central American criminal organizations and small criminal groups that were already operating in central Mexico. He did this to take control of the drug trafficking routes that run from the south to the north," he comments.

Another motivation that forced the Zetas to "invade" territories in Central Mexico that were almost totally under the control of the Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel, was the presence of the Army, Navy and Federal Police in the northern states, mainly in Tamaulipas, where they took on the drug traffickers directly.

"When Los Zetas moved from the north and tried to take over the south-north drug, weapons and money smuggling corridors, narco violence broke out in the State of Mexico and Michoacan. The Zetas ran into Chapo's people, who they still erroneously think they are going to defeat," says this specialist on intelligence and drug trafficking matters.   

Gulf in decline

The new reality of narco violence in Central Mexico is a result of the logistical dispute between Los Zetas, El Chapo and La Familia Michoacana, with some participation by the Beltran Leyva Organization, insist the sources that were consulted. But the most important plazas for transporting drugs into the United States are located in the north.

In Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua and Sonora, the territorial disputes between cartels continue, but the displacement of Los Zetas towards the south and the weakening of the Gulf and Juarez cartels has allowed El Chapo to establish a certain degree of control in the region. That's the reason behind the decrease in the levels of violence that Jacoby pointed out to the United States Congress.


After the capture of Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, "El Coss," on September 12, 2012, the Gulf Cartel was left without a leader, and this triggered an internal dispute for control of the organization.

The expert argues that this in turn caused a repositioning of control over the northern plazas by the Sinaloa Cartel, and confused Z-40 even more, and he chose to move south to try to take over other territories.

"The internal dispute within the Gulf Cartel benefits El Chapo. We know that the fights for control of the group are being carried out by factions led by Miguel Villarreal, El Gringo --allegedly killed on February 20 during the confrontation in Reynosa --; Mario Armando Ramirez Trevino, "El X-20"; Sergio Ortegon Silva and Juan Reyes Mejia," explains the expert.

Another reason for the apparent lull in narco violence in the north is the rumor of the forced retirement of Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, "El Viceroy", leader of the Juarez Cartel, who -- it is said -- negotiated an agreement with El Chapo to divide plazas up and end the threat and presence of Los Zetas.

Bloody war

"Z-40 and his gangland partners want to broaden their domains in southern and central Mexico, that's why they're engaged in a fierce and bloody battle with El Chapo's people," sates the specialist.

He adds that the presence of these criminals in places like the state of Mexico, for example, at the same time triggers the rise of of small groups that pass themselves off as Zetas to commit crimes unrelated to the drug trafficking group. "They rob, kidnap, extort and murder using the Zetas' criminal label," he indicates. 

(Drug) corridors in southern and central Mexico are especially valuable for drug cartels. With respect to plazas that are located in the south, that border with Central America, or that provide ingress and egress in the area, these are valuable for building clandestine landing strips for aircraft and small planes that transport drugs from South America, Guatemala, Belize or Honduras.

"There are also ocean routes for fast boats and land based centers for loading drugs that are transported towards the interior before they end up in the north," explains the expert.

The territories in the State of Mexico, Hidalgo, Morelos, Queretaro and Michoacan " are valuable "because they are densely populated zones, and this makes them prized jewels for drug traffickers: They are ideal points for moving drugs north and strategically valuable for hiding product," he explains.

Confidential reports from the Mexican as well as the United States governments, which the source claimed it had access to, indicate hundreds drug warehouses are concentrated in the State of Mexico and in the very capital of the country.  "This explains perfectly why, since the arrival of Los Zetas into these areas, acts of narco violence traditionally associated with disputes amongst narcos for the plazas in northern Mexico began to be reported," he adds. 

Pena Nieto's Challenge

On Tuesday, February 19, the report "Pena Nieto's Challenge: Criminal Cartels and the Rule of Law in Mexico" was released simultaneously in Mexico, Bogota and Brussels.

The 58-page report written by the International Crisis Group (ICG, based in Brussels) points out that, in terms of the the war against drug trafficking and organized crime, Pena Nieto's government is faced with a great challenge: how to contain criminals who commit all sorts of crimes without caring about respect and integrity of their victim's human rights.

"Cartels have hundreds of armed men and they have become diversified criminal groups who not only traffic drugs, but also carry out massive kidnappings, supervise extortion and extract resources from the state petroleum industry.," says the report by the Belgium group, which characterizes itself as an organization dedicated to preventing world conflict.

When discussing the violence that the drug traffic generates in Mexico, the ICG points to the use of Army and Navy troops as the best alternative for controlling drug traffickers, but, with respect to this, he points out:

"Military forces continue to battle against them (the criminals) in large areas of the country, in polemic missions that often end in shootouts instead of criminal investigations." For that reason, it warns Pena Nieto that his government must build effective police and judicial systems, because if it fails to do this, violence will continue or could even get worse. 

"The transformation of cartels into death squads who are fighting for territorial control with military weapons challenges the Mexican government's monopoly on the use of force in some areas. The brutality of the crimes cripples the trust that citizens place on the government's ability to protect them, and corruption from drug money damages their trust in public institutions. Cartels challenge the nature of the State, not with the threat of taking it over, but rather, by damaging and weakening it."
    

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32 Borderland Beat Comments:

Cuatro Veinte said...

The United States needs to shut the fuck up

Anonymous said...

a strategy huh

Anonymous said...

Bullshit...If Mexico was not subservient to USA and had plenty lot of oil then the Drug Cartels would have been called terrorist having weapons of mass destruction...The US of A government is not bothered about it's own people as long as the elite banking families who are the real rulers of USA keep receiving the billions of dollars of narco blood money.

Anonymous said...

The US knows roughly what is going on,don't mistake that.In this report,you see the expert says"who they still erroneously think they are going to defeat"this expert whoever he is believes the Z will lose against Guzman.I wouldn't argue yes or no,but losing Lazcano must be a big loss,Morales lost a capable man and partner.But,experts are like you know what,everyone got one.Guzman is also a competent foe,does he actually take active roles in deciding things such as the Reynosa fight,does he move outside?Ha,Jorge Arce from Sinalao,didn't know that,that dude loves a fight.

Anonymous said...

"The United States needs to shut the fuck up"
Oh shit,here we go again,calmarse amigo,its just an opinion.
Its not the United States,its one dude,dayum,mention the US and everyone gets hysterical ?

Anonymous said...

Why do people take some of these stories so literally?
No wonder some of the mods get pissed off..

Anonymous said...

USA treats me pretty damn good.

Anonymous said...

The Mexican armed forces are worst than the cartels,who do you think is transporting the drugs from the south to the north? Honestly the only solution is to bring the death penalty to any general or elected official that works with the cartels!!!!

Anonymous said...

If Vicente Carrillo Fuentes was forced to retire (which I can't believe), does that mean that CDJ no longer exists?

Anonymous said...

crediting Chapo for the decrease in violence is like crediting Jesse James for a decrease in bank robberies. He's the one responsible for most of the violence since around 2004.

Anonymous said...

Bullshit, chapo is enemy no 1 in Chicago and just like the Mexican government the u.s. government its trying to make him look as robin hood. Chapo started just about every conflict in the north of Mexico by trying to STEAL other's turf. Zetas pretty much multiplied as soon he tried to invade N.Laredo. Juarez is a meatgrinder thanks to him., it seems the so called experts blame everything on zetas. PROPAGANDA. the difference between them is chapo is backed by DEA and Mexican goverment. and yet he still cant finish ANY of the,wars he started,

Anonymous said...

U need to stfu.we dont always like what our gvt does but to hate on u.s as a whole is fucked up.if we are that bad then why do thousands of mexicans keep coming over our border? Not a rascist or anything and alot of us dont care how many come here but the cartel scum need to stay home.just wait till that fat little bastard in n.korea gets a nuke then both countries are fucked

cartel pesado said...

This is complete bs except for the z moving south that's true .

Anonymous said...

By 52% to 45%, adult Americans back legalization of marijuana,
according to the survey released by the Pew Research Center.
The finding marks the first time in more than four decades of
Pew's polling that a majority has taken that position.

Ten years ago only about 30 % of American adults
backed making marijuana legal.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

Chapo just wants to move dope and thats it...he doesnt care for politics or government..zetas extort taco stands and sell bootleg dvdz..they are a thousand light years away from even coming close to the criminal empire that is CDS..that being said..Arriba CHOIX sinaloa gateway to the sierra madres and the best soil for maryjane...a peaceful quiet town where zetas/la linea once tried to invade during harvest time but they all ended up as fertilizer..

Anonymous said...

Z falling apart with that idiot home clown 42 running it. Die Z die.

Anonymous said...

happening now. dhs here in the valley having a meeting with border patrol. check out krgv at 6 and 10. wonder what the battleaxe is after?

Anonymous said...

Hahaha that shit was on facebook

Anonymous said...

drug cartels will loose BIG! once USA legalizes marijuana. Hopefully cocaine will follow. then the Colombians will no longer need the Mexicans. All they will have left will be kidnapping and extortion.

Anonymous said...

In rio grande city we have a cartel they call themselfs. Starr county sheriffs office... they already started to clean office from chief jailer to lets see who next .

Anonymous said...

Where are these mantas coming from?Is this newest one in Nuevo Laredo from Chapo for real?Is it a faction of CDG versus the Z putting these up?Something is up,was it Z that stoked all the recent fighting up in Reynosa?"we will continue cleaning NL,you missed"
What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

FKN bullshit!!! yanky fkn dandy's under the Chapo payroll....what a load of bullshit,they were already down south even when Z-3 was alive...and there still in the north.

Anonymous said...

Some things don't make any sense, saying that el Coss' arrest in September and the destabilization it brought to the CDG confused the zetas and made them move south, WTF seriously? if this is what "intelligence" thinks they definitely should look for a new job or a new name.

The zetas have been in Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz and other places since way before September, besides the debilitation of their most direct enemy if anything would empower the zetas to try and recover ground in Tamaulipas, the border is and will be the most juicy territory as it gives access to the US.

Anonymous said...

Falling apart jaja chapo nuthugger u should go to mexico.n see for urself..only thing zetas do is change tactics cause the government is frequently on there ass not ur chapos n noo not ur golfas the military ...here in Laredo they changed theur 12 meaning that no more confronting military in topones cause here in laredo those were the orders ..si t topas con los wachos ai q dale putasos lazcano made that rule but now that hes gone its way different how they operate

Anonymous said...

Chapo nutthugger dont forget to thank ur corrupted wachos n los estatales cuz if it wetent for them pendejo el jL n chapo izidro wouldve kick ur ass...as always cds letting military fight fir them cuz they on there own no son nada

Anonymous said...

Washington has its head so far up its ass and those old decrepit criminal politicians dont have a clue about what is really going on! Everytime they put out a statement it makes my puke! America better get its head out of its ass...

Anonymous said...

Really? The US needs shut up? Think of what an even bigger shit hole Mexico would be if it weren't geographically positioned next to the YS, Mexico would be Botswana. Just another 3rd world toilet.

You should thank your lucky stars Mexico is next to the USA and can suck off her tit. I don't see Mexicans streaming to Honduras.

Want to solve the immigration issue? It's easy. USA should copy word for word the Mexican immigration policy and put it into effect here. No one can cry racism, Mexico wrote the policy.

Anonymous said...

Great story! Now I have a better understanding of the territories held by the various cartels. I would like to know about any territories held by the Mexican Government; if any.

Anonymous said...

April 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM
"just wait till that fat little bastard in n.korea gets a nuke then both countries are fucked"
Baby Elvis?Baby Elvis has left the building to go sit on a nuke and stroke it.

Anonymous said...

Mexico got OIL u dumbfuck if we cut you off t least 20 % of ur factories go to shit. half of the rigs in the golfo would close ,u r gas price goes up at least 2 dollares, and when oil goes up so does everything else like food. next time u see a migrant worker thank him cause u fruits and veggies are affordable ,cause if u had an American a tomato would probably cost u a dollar each. don't let it bigotry and. prejudice blind ur commopn sense

Anonymous said...

Oh oh,ill leave all the girls fighting about what country is best,,,mi raza,,,,,USA,USA,,,,,fuckin comical

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