Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, January 15, 2011

El Chapo may be setting sights on Acapulco

Damian Dovarganes AP file
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman as he looked after his arrest in 1993. He later escaped.


Perhaps more sinister than the savagery used on the 15 men whose headless bodies recently were dumped like offal on an Acapulco sidewalk was the signature on the placards accompanying them.

"El Chapo Guzman," they were signed, referring to the Napolean-size man who is Mexico's most infamous and arguably most powerful gangster.

The handwritten notes warned that the men's brutal fate - the coroner said they were still alive when their heads were severed - would be shared by any who "attempt to enter the territory."

If the men really were murdered on behalf of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, it means the drug lord - listed by Forbes as one of the world's richest men and by the U.S. Department of Justice as worth millions in rewards - is laying claim to the Pacific Coast resort.

That portends even more violent days ahead for an already bloodied city that's both a prime gateway for South American cocaine and a lucrative market for selling drugs to locals and tourists.

Last Saturday's slaughter also might signal that Guzman, whose gunmen already are battling rivals for control of Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana and other cities, is willing to employ a barbarity that has rarely been his trademark.

"It really isn't his style to use these types of actions," Luis Astorga, a leading analyst of Mexico's drug trafficking organizations, said in expressing doubt that Guzman was behind the beheadings. "But each organization wants to show itself as more terrifying than its competitors."

More than 34,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on drug trafficking organizations began four years ago. Some 15,000 were killed in 2010 alone, many in cities along the Texas border, as massacres, assassinations and gunfights with government security forces spiked.

The violence has been spurred in large part by the government's dismantling of trafficking gangs and the capture or killing of their bosses. Half the 37 men who officials say are Mexico's most dangerous gangsters have been put either in their graves or behind bars.

Replacements weaker

Such a "kingpin" strategy, advocated by U.S. officials, proved key to bringing Colombia's criminal organizations under control in the 1990s. It has been the linchpin of Calderon's effort.

Although killings accelerate as underlings or rivals move into the vacuum left by the fallen, those who eventually win prove less capable and weaker than the men they replace, Mexican and U.S. officials argue.

"When the very powerful historic leaders fall, these little bosses that were under them lose their operating capacity," Alejandro Poire, the government's public security spokesman, said this week. "The new leaders who try to assume these positions do so amid a notably weaker criminal structure."

Maybe, but the logic seems more than a little strained when it comes to 5-foot, 6-inch "El Chapo" - or "Shorty" - Guzman.

Already in his shadow

Since his curiously easy escape from a maximum security prison nearly a decade ago, Guzman, 53, has become Mexico's most powerful crime boss. Forbes has listed his fortune at about $1 billion.

Although Mexico's army commanders consider Guzman their primary target, he has easily evaded every attempt to kill or capture him. He's believed to spend much of his time in the marijuana- and heroin-producing Sierra Madre mountains that separate Sinaloa and Durango states, protected by hundreds of gunmen, loyal villagers and corrupt police.

But he also is suspected to be living at least part-time in Central America, far from the upscale neighborhoods of Mexico City and Guadalajara, where many of his colleagues have been captured.

As head of the so-called Federation, an alliance of smuggling gangs based in the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa, Guzman controls drug production, sales and smuggling throughout much of Western Mexico. He long has had his eye on his rivals' territory .

Indeed, the ongoing wave of severe gangland violence began in 2004, when Guzman tried to take control of Nuevo Laredo, one of the most important smuggling corridors.

Hundreds were killed as Guzman's gunmen fought it out with the Gulf Cartel.

The fighting in Ciudad Juarez, bordering El Paso, began three years ago when Guzman sent thugs to take control of the city. Some 7,000 people have been murdered in the city of 1.3 million since then.

Now, perhaps, it is Acapulco's turn.

The city long fell under Guzman's shadow, controlled by his allies in the Beltran Leyva smuggling organization. But Guzman and the Beltran Leyvas began feuding three years ago. And the Beltran Leyva organization has all but disintegrated since the killing 13 months ago of Arturo, the most powerful of four brothers.

'Bring them all down'

Nearly 1,000 people were killed in Acapulco, Guerrero state to which it belongs, and neighboring states as Arturo's older brother, Hector, fought with his former lieutenant, Texas-born Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez, for control of the organization.

Valdez surrendered to Mexican police last fall and is expected to be deported to the United States.

"The problem is you are no longer sure who is doing what to whom," said Astorga, the Mexican analyst. "There is obviously no federal government strategy to control the expanding wave of violence."

Astorga and other analysts argue that Calderon's security chiefs may be choosing their targets, focusing on smaller and weaker gangs while leaving Guzman until the end.

Otherwise, "the federation would end up being the only criminal organization in Mexico, intolerably powerful and corruptive," said Robert Bonner, former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who oversaw efforts against Colombia's gangsters.

"You have to bring them all down," Bonner said of Mexico's remaining criminal gangs. "Sinaloa can be last, but you have to destroy the organization. You have to."


  1. I am starting to wonder if maybe it is true that everyone in Mexico knows where Joaquin Guzman Loera is except the government. Could he really be in bed with Calderon's administration? Seems like the Federacion will always be top dog in this dog eat dog society they call Mexico. Never ending story.

  2. So how safe is it for tourists? I'm taking a trip to Mexico this year alone to celebrate my bday but I'm not sure what part I want to go. Acapulco could be one option. Any tips besides don't go because I'm going regardless

  3. Welcome to Chapoville, one of the fastest marijuana growing resorts.

  4. theres a story somewhere about a Padre addressing the church one day.

    going as far as to say. EL senor Chapo Guzman, everyone know where he lives on 1234 main street and the government knows, everyone knows, but who is doing anything about it? I may have paraphrased it a little, but I'm sure with 300 armed escorts and a motorcade equal to that of any head of stated I'd assume they could find him if they wanted to.

    the golden triangle isnt that big. tracking down Pablo taught everyone something I imagine.

    but what do I know.


  5. oh and can you maybe put together a list of the 37 most wanted guys .. I assume its down to 20 or so according to the above.

    I know a guy that can probably help Mexico and bring the fugitives to their knees.



  6. They have been targeting his group lately in Durango, TJ and Colombia. So maybe Calderon finally realizes that be eliminating him the family feuds simmer down. Maybe not completely but Mx will not miss Chupapitos Guzman that's for sure. Ya no le pienses Calderon dale en la madre a este demonio!!!!!

  7. "So how safe is it for tourists? I'm taking a trip to Mexico this year alone to celebrate my bday but I'm not sure what part I want to go. Acapulco could be one option. Any tips besides don't go because I'm going regardless"

    You could always take a nice leisurely Drive down there starting out at Juarez or Nuevo Laredo and take your time and enjoy the sights,then you can decide where you want to hang out and party.Sounds like a Man that knows what He wants !!! Don't let any of the Commonsense and Wisdom from those of us who have lived and worked there,dealt with crooked Police and Politico's ruin your Trip.Be sure and blog while you are down there !!!

  8. When I first read this yesterday, I thought "YES!" because when Chapo's name was suggested being responsible, I said (and wrote) I was not convinced, it is not his style of killing. This article says the same thing. So there is a new Chapo in town.

    All I know is, I stick by my prediction 2011 will be the bloodiest year ever, and Chapo will make a run for huge amts of territories...TJ and my town included..the only questions is where he will stop.

  9. ok anon

    i am gonna act like you are serious...first of all don't be flashy or rude nice and polite ,tip reasonably..but not so much as to insult or appear arrogant....don;t wear a lot of expensive flashy careful in the taxi using the ones recommended b your hotel is the best bet for careful about who you meet there and don't be so quick to go home with some local you might meet in a bar...avoid shady bars..i don't know your travel experience i am gonna give you the first grade treatment ... if this is your first time in Mexico far most Mexicans/locals are ok..but all it takes is one ..and in the tourist places you have two main dangers ..those who are there to take advantage of you , and nowadays you have the added danger from the narcos...who will shoot it out with the police and each other at any place at any time...and if you have no experience on what to watch for ..forget it ..even if you do have experience it dosen't matter that much...whatever you do don't get drunk and mouthy ...belligerent ..or over any tourist area anywhere they have seen it all already...

    i could go on forever ..but the best best for you is to stick with a group...and don't be too adventuresome right away

    Mexico is not that safe right now ... but it is far from an all out war zone ..but the danger is real...i am sure that if you exercise some common sense and a little bit of caution you will have a great time and fall in love with Mexico

    oh yeah matter what you do don't get involved in any shady illegal are way over your head ..and the policia are the last pinche madres you want to have to deal with

  10. Thank you lil brito. And I am serious. Its just I haven't been in a while n I miss it too much to wait any longer. Good looking out about the tip advice because I tend to tip like I owe people something. Thanks again

  11. Borderland beat must know The Queer El Chapo and are afraid to offend him- thats why you will not run the D.E.A./ Mexican Goverment Wanted Post.
    Maybe you all should be investigated?

  12. Chapo won't continue to open up wars on various fronts. He knows better. Baja is off limits at this point. There is no strategic advantage to it.

    This year may be bloody, but the bigger picture is that the cartels are doing their cleansing in their remaining time. Once a new president is in, things will change back to how they more overt war.

  13. my husband and i go to mexico every other month. last year we went 10 times. we have had no major issues with traveling there. i agree with the tipping and not to be flashy. i flew alone to d.f. and took the bus to cuernavaca, lived with a wonderful mexican family for a month and went to language school. walked everywhere, but as the advice was given by lil brito, dont be getting sloppy drunk in a shady bar. negotiate you taxi fare before you get in the cab. playa del carmen is beautiful and isla mujeres. its a tiny island with a navy base. were headed back next week. have fun and dont lose your head. haha

  14. This will never end, Even if you catch all of them.The demand is the x factor.

  15. people drink more in a place where there is easy access to liquor stores...liquor stores locate where people drink more ..chicken chicken no egg egg no chicken...take your pick...

    is the USA to blame , somewhat ..yes for a good part of the drug smuggling based crime Mexico to blame.. yes...for the rest... including the drug problem inside Mexico

    but the USA is not to blame for Mexicos other diverse crime and corruption problems

  16. Lito Brito is just so totally right! 'but the USA is not to blame for Mexicos other diverse crime and corruption problems'

    In fact, we all must bow down and praise our US government for making the entire world such a wonderful delightful place! They have been able to do this despite all the Baddies out there who are Reds, Terrorists, Druggies, Prey on Children, Abuse Women, Have Bad Religions, and Talk with incredibly funny accents. PTL!


  17. I go to Acapulco often and still enjoy most of it, but I've given up going to the "after hours" clubs which are run by and filled with Narcos. These are little clubs that really get going at 4am after the other clubs wind down. In the past we partied big time in there even knowing there are "connected" types, but now the fear is real and I don't want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    Be careful picking up girls...If they have a bf, you can get dragged into an issue. I find the people in Aca to be really cool and laid back, but obviously there is the other side that I don't ever want to run into. I have endless stories from friends down there. There are shoot outs in the street, but if you don't see one, it's as if they don't exist...Honestly during the day looking at the skyline and bay it's hard to fathom what actually goes on down there.

    When La Barbie was most wanted, he openly partied in one of the higher end clubs. Don't trust police down there...just stay out of trouble and you should be fine. Also, the strip bars....these types of places seem to attract all types...good and bad...I've found that if your not looking for trouble, trouble won't find you, but things are changing down there and my friends and I probably will do one more winter trip and then that's it. I've had many local friends not involved held at gun point after being followed by SUV's. There was also a shooting at the biggest tourist club down there...This was hushed up quickly......Acapulco just is not what it used to be...very sad to see this......What's amazing though, is the same drug pushers you see in the tourist zone have been there for nearly 20yrs....I'm always amazed to see them year after year doing their thing.....It amazes me they've been able to survive so long with everything happening. Again, it's not a war zone, but danger is all around...It's ashame because the people really are nice down there.

  18. I agree with the DOG The Bounty Hunter comment.

    He would obviously have to stay out of the fire fights, but he is the real deal, I work in law enforcement/around military and he knows street tactics to nab his foes.

    If he was safely guarded and had a reliable small army behind him he could easily nab el chapo. He talks street and slang like "hey uncle" "el tio" same in spansih and hey brodha, he knows all sorts of languages and he knows how criminals think. Not a bad idea, but onto my main point, el chapo will get caught. just a matter of time.

  19. can you imagine Dwight lee getting into one of his fist fights with a sicario lol.


  20. Calderon is not protecting any cartel leader. Chapo would be quite a trophy for his admin. Chapo is not a super-human being, he just knows how to move in the sierras and has a huge security force protecting him. People think he lives in a nice comfy home in the middle of a major city, not true at all.

  21. dog the bounty hunter would get killed with in a week ha ha ha ha

  22. I want to see Dewayne "Dog" Chapman and crew take on the cartels with those silly looking pepper-spray paint ball guns they carry. Hell, where I live if you see some shit like that, you are coming out firing,no questions asked. I am surpised this man is still alive. I think they do that just for TV when they know there is no chance of being shot. A normal person would open up on your ass.


Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;