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

Monday, August 22, 2011

How the Drug Lords Took Over Mexico

By José Luis Sierra
New America Media

They command an army of thousands: men, women, even children north and south of the US-Mexico border. They build tunnels, and dispatch submarines and customized armored vehicles. They load planes, trucks, and railroad containers with drugs and other illicit cargo. In bulk, they buy arms and political influence across the continent. They are feared and revered at the same time; loathed and obeyed by those paid to follow their orders.

Journalist Anabel Hernandez.

They are the Drug Lords of Mexico and, according to journalist Anabel Hernandez, they have succeeded at infiltrating the highest circles of financial and political power in the countries where they now operate and even might have a say in deciding who the next President of Mexico might be.

But who are they exactly?
“Most people in Mexico and in this country believe that the Drug Lords is a men’s club being lead by “El Chapo” Guzman, “El Mayo” Zambada –leaders of the well known Cartel de Sinaloa— as well as the handful of replacements who have taken the place of those who used to control Los Zetas in the Gulf [of Mexico], and Los Templarios that now have taken over the cartel of La Familia in Michoacán and El Cartel de Tijuana. But in fact, these renowned gangsters are figure heads, eventually fall guys,’’ says Hernandez, during her second trip to Los Angeles promoting her book The Drug Lords —the result of a five-year investigation into the Mexican drug cartels, their close ties to Mexican officialdom, and the expansion of their influence in Central and South America.

“How else can you explain how individuals running the cartels with almost no education can outpace the US and Mexican intelligence agencies, the Mexican Army and Mexican law enforcement at all levels? There is only one explanation,” says Hernandez with a dramatic pause— “corruption.”

From Top to BottomFor the 39-year-old Hernandez—now working on a follow-up book focused on US policies toward Latin America in its war on drugs — corruption in Mexico is so pervasive that it jumped the US border many decades ago, back in the 1980s, during the Reagan administration, when senior officials facilitated the sale of arms to Iran and through back-door funding of the Nicaraguan Contras, thereby bypassing the oversight of Congress.

Much of the funding for the Contras, according to Hernandez, came from illegal trafficking of cocaine through Central America en route to the United States, with full knowledge of top CIA officials. Most of these events were well documented by several congressional commissions, as well as independent reports. Yet, only a handful of the US government officials involved got prosecuted. They ended up being pardoned or with commuted sentences.

At that time, Mexico’s ruling party, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) had total control of the political power in Mexico and the drug cartels were left to mind their own business with no interference, as long as they paid a cut of their profits to key government officials, who in turn would spread some of that money around to make sure the drug operations would run smoothly.

Things began to get shaky in 1985, with the execution of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent who had investigated a 1,000-hectare marijuana plantation in the state of Chihuahua. The killing of Camarena unleashed outrage from the US government and pressured Mexican officials to punish those responsible for the murder. Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and Rafael Caro Quintero —at that time two very well know drug lords— were apprehended and are still in prison. Four others, including a relative of former Mexican President Luis Echevarria, were also found guilty in a federal court in Los Angeles.

“The official records are there,” declares Hernandez in an interview with New America Media. “Then and now, US and Mexican officials had been involved in deals with the drug lords and they are playing a double moral standard in this so called “war’’ against drug trafficking that already cost Mexico more than 40 thousand victims.’’

She cites a more recent case when the son of “El Mayo Zambada,’’ Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla (aka “Mayito”) claimed immunity from prosecution early last week in a federal court in Chicago, alleging that in 1998 he had an agreement with top DEA and US officials, in exchange for his services as an informant on the activities of the Sinaloa cartel, led by his father and Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.

According to reports from Reuters, US government officials in Mexico declined to comment on Zambada’s allegations, and US prosecutors have denied that Zambada had been granted immunity. They have until September 9 to file a response with the court. But if Zambada-Niebla’s claim is upheld, it can potentially turn into another embarrassment for the US government, on a par with the scandalous Operation “Fast and Furious,’’ in which U.S. officials deliberately allowed the export of high-power firearms into Mexico, then lost track of the arms.

“The only winner in this drug war is the Sinaloa Cartel and they can thank [Mexican] President Felipe Calderon for that,’’ says Hernandez.


  1. ha, ha, that last comment says it all.

  2. So 5 years of research and she cant give me one name as to who the real leaders are? Something tells me if I read the whole book it will be just as vague...

  3. Easy to criticize hard to offer viable solutions.

  4. she needed 5 years to come up with "the government is corrupt" she better give names, or some never before heard info. otherwise she is just trying to sell some books.

  5. To all of you government employees who read this. The truth hurts. SHAME ON YOU. Right is Right. And Wrong is Wrong. Oh, thats right you government employes do not want to lose your jobs by exposing any corruption. Consider your-self just as guilty of bribery as the other corrupt officials. In the form of "keep my mouth shut" or risk losing my job. God Bless The Americas HONEST , RIGHTEOUS , COURAGEOUS people. Que "DIOS" NOS BIENDIGA

  6. CorrePorElBosque said...

    She already gives names, many names, But have to read the book. And wath she's trying to say is that the drug lords are others than el chapo or el mayo.

    People often blames el chapo, el mayo, the sicarios etc. etc. calling them lazys, betrayers to their county etc etc. just because they are the visible heads, but what about the politicians? bussinesmans? the military? that's what shes trying to say, the drug lords are all of them not only el chapo, the military and politician help them with protection, the empresarios launder their money and many times invest in drug shipmens, all of them are the drug lords because with their positions contribute to bussisnes, and without them el chapo had not become el chapo. And of course she gives names, many of them very known, but nobody does anything, so is Mexico.

  7. Wow! I think even a child in Mexico has more insight on this subject than this chick.. Geez, half the time the banners left by the Narco's implicate or point the finger at top gov't officials, who are being payed off and by which DTO's. I don't know how smart it was to come out with a book about drug lords..I hope she's able to make lots of money off her book because she just might have painted a target on her ass!

  8. @9:56 Anabel has nothing to say. She is a shill for the narcos. Bought and paid for - just like the whole fucked up country.

    What "many names"? She writes in circles.

    Her first book - 100s of pages and she comes up with "Calderon is protecting Chapo". BFD

  9. Hey! Has anyone read this book yet? And did she name people in this book or just vaguely say, "El Chapo and the like are just fall guys for the real leaders..." and not say who these real leaders are? ?? ?

  10. "Los Templarios that now have taken over the cartel of La Familia in Michoacán"

    This stupid statement alone gives you good idea of this woman's credibility. LCT are at war with LFM, if she believes otherwise she should go in areas controlled LFM and tell them she is there to collect on behalf of LCT (both of these maggots extort innocents). They both still exist and no one replaced another.

  11. @10:53am
    I really doubt she is paid off by any narcos. My theory is that she is just plain stupid.

  12. she says the drug lords arent just firgures such as el chapo, and nacho.. then she says the only one who's winning is sinaloa.. lol i read alot more interesting blogs/forums of people who have really been following whats going on.

  13. never says much and what is said is slanted against the US and Calderon. Its always PR "read my book" "its in the book" yet my copy must be missing many pages


  14. Read the book people before saying do not even have to buy the book if you dont want pay for it; its on internet...people from Mexico can figure out who she is talking about cause we understand she cant say names due to the fact that those who rule the country are the real drug Manlio Fabio Beltrones, head of the camara de sendores

  15. Ja Ja I tough that this page readers had more comun sense :( she give 100s of names is the fist book that I read that mention so many manyyyyy names. Well whats wrong with you people? You not read her last statement that the only winer is cartel of Sinaloa thanks to Felipe Calderon and Felipe is the "president" of Mexico NOW!

  16. she should get her story straight,. its el niño, not mayito,. and mayo is obviously his father, not chapo

  17. Yes she gives many names in the book "Los Señores del Narco" I have been urging people to read this book.

  18. oh yes sinaloa really won big with calderon.
    was she asleep during record breaking hits they endured this year?

    I don't care how many names she gave, she has a dog in the fight and is a beard figure it out.

  19. @August 23, 2011 8:06 AM

    Is this book published only in spanish yet?
    I found only spanish version.

  20. I'll read her book because I love her. Masota. Just wish she'd smile a bit.

  21. All of these comments just go to show how envious people of this woman and her work. You people must realize that this is a report by someone else regarding this woman. Therefore it reflects the logic of the reporter not the woman who the report is about and all of the interview was taken out of context so as to reflect and angle that the reporter took on the matter. Basic Journalism. For you people that take everything fed to you at face value: In order to find out what she's talking about first learn spanish then download her books if you are too cheap to buy them. You will then obtain the gist of her arguments based on hard cold evidence which are the same arguments that you spit day in day out like gospel as though some how you have it all put together. The differnce is that those arguments that you obtained based on the rumor are the same that others used from her to turn them into rumors. Trust me if you got any verifiable information from true Narcos these same Narcos snitches would be one of the many gruesome executions that you only read, hear, know about second hand on the news. Only spectators comment on these matters here on this webside and your opinions have absoulutely no bearing on anything that goes on in Mexico no matter how much you would want that to be the case. Matter of fact your opinions don't have any bearing on anything that goes on in your own damned addicted country the good ole US of A. Sit on that busters.

  22. To the poster @ 7:24pm. I think you're the one sitting on something.

  23. Texcoco Mex said.

    @August 23, 2011 7:24 PM I like and I respect what you said. Some people like to criticize with out criticizing them selfs thinking they are better when they're not.

    By the way I do like this woman.

  24. @ 8:37 When all else fails any one would resort to emotional appeals to distract. Ignorance hates it when the light of truth is shinned in its eyes.

  25. I would never buy her book she said los caballero templarios took over la familia michiocana what an idiot! Everyone knows La familia michiocana is still operating and are now with los zetas fighting against los caballeros templarios in their home turf michiocan.

  26. chingue su madre todo mexicano que no supo valorar los verdaderos ejemplos de nuestros padres.real fucken men que trabajaban en el campo,sacaban dinero de el sudor de su frente. ya ahi puro huevoncito que si su padre lo lleva camping corre con MAMI pa que le cure los piquetes de sancudo, puro pinche flojo que usan los carteles. ponganse vergas pedejos dios ve todo , en estos tiempos me averguezo de ser mexicano...

  27. To be fair when they "killed "El Mas Loco, La Familia Michoacana did hang up banners indicating they were disbanding. Los Caballeros Templarios hung up banners after a while alerting the people of Michoacan of their presence maybe that's what she meant in her book. I don't know if that's what she was trying to say.

  28. Sounds like she's trying to make money from the drug war but i respect a woman who has the ovaries to speak up against the cartels especially about el chapo and pendejo calderon.


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