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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Blows to "El Chapo" are exaggerated

Some of the key operators within the command structure of the Sinaloa Cartel detained or killed during the Felipe Calderon administration

Ponen en duda golpes al Chapo
REFORMA/Benito Jiménez

Specialists say detentions may encumber cartel operations but not its leadership

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera may still sit on his throne but his kingdom has been dismantled if we are to believe Mexico's federal government.

To date during the Felipe Calderón administration federal authorities have detained at least 12 key lieutenants and operators belonging to "El Chapo" Guzman's organization.

During the detainee's media presentations military and federal police spokespersons have repeated the catchphrase that the operation significantly handicaps the command structure and operational capacity of the Sinaloa Cartel.

However, experts in security matters and criminal justice policy are not buying the government line.

Pedro Peñaloza, criminologist and professor in the Faculty of Law in UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and Ghaleb Krame, a national security specialist and academic with the Mexico City campus of Alliant International University, agree that the Sinaloa Cartel functions like a corporation where management is disposable and vacant positions are filled.

"In Mexico criminal organizations are not taken apart, only the top is lopped off. This is a profound conceptual difference; when you only remove those at the top it favors other factions that will occupy the vacuum and continue the business and the structure continues functioning. The detained are simply phased out," states Peñaloza.

"The phrase that is repeated constantly, that 'X' financial operator belonging to 'Y' cartel was arrested, is meaningless. The operational structures used by criminal organizations are very robust and they function just like a successful corporation."

Ghaleb Krame considers that high level arrests do affect Sinaloa Cartel operations but they leave its top leadership untouched. The specialist emphasizes that to profoundly disrupt the cartel the government must capture "El Chapo", and not just his subordinates.

"As long as 'El Chapo' continues operating the Sinaloa cartel will be a coercive force. They've detained many of his operators, true, but there will always be people willing to take their place, just like any business."

"For the phrase 'is significantly affected' to have any real context they must capture 'El Chapo', only then will there be any serious interruption." adds Krame.

Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, "El Inge", is presented to the media by SEDENA after his capture on December, 2011. "Con esta acción lograda por el personal militar, se afecta la estructura de liderazgo y la capacidad operativa del CARTEL DEL PACÍFICO." (With this action won by military personnel, the command structure and operational capacity of the Sinaloa Cartel has been compromised.)

The federal government emphasizes that Sinaloa Cartel operations have been significantly affected with the capture since 2007 of Jesús Reynaldo Zambada García, "El Rey Zambada"; Vicente Zambada Niebla, "El Vicentillo"; Eduardo Teodoro García Simental, "El Teo"; Manuel Fernández Valencia, "La Puerca"; José Manuel García Simental, "El Chiquilín"; Ovidio Limón Sánchez and Felipe Cabrera Sarabia; and the deaths of Ignacio Coronel Villarreal, "Nacho Coronel", one of the cartel's top leaders, and Luis Alberto Cabrera Sarabia, "El Arqui".

This contrasts sharply with the fact that between 2010 and 2011 "El Chapo" Guzman rose 5 spots on the Forbes World's Most Powerful People list, from #60 to #55.

(Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico's billionaire telecommunications magnate, appeared on the 23rd spot both years. President Felipe Calderon did not appear on either.)


  1. (Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico's billionaire telecommunications magnate, appeared on the 23rd spot both years. President Felipe Calderon did not appear on either.) This has nothing to do with anything and just for you people to know, the decisions of president Felipe Calderon have in deed affected the Narco structures and the Narco way of life. Before president Felipe Calderon you will see many Narcos buying expensive cars, houses, jewelry and they didn't have any problem showing it, nowadays you don't see that anymore.

    Don't forget things are not that easy, it has taken the U.S. 10 years of war in Afghanistan and the Taliban are still very much active, and we are talking about the most powerful country in the world against people on a country of only 30 million people and 18 billion a year of GDP, according to many the cartels make 30 to 40 billions a year.

    1. Right back then they would BUY everything they wanted now they just steal it!!

    2. I would like to see an article about Carlos Helu, I have a friend from Mexico who claims he is the biggest criminal in the whole country and has even gone so far as to temporary changing laws to benefit only himself. I think multi-billionaire heads of corporations are just as dangerous as cartel heads but their suppression goes under the radar. I think his story probably underlines the whole issue of corruption in Mexico....

  2. a few years ago el Chapo gave a interview...

    "you can kill or put me in prison, someone will take my place "

    40 billion a year trade will not go away. as long as there is a demand there will be a supplier..

    Leagalize all drugs and the crimes will end.

    the drug war is a failed policy

  3. RE: The Title

    The word is exaggerated NOT exagerrated

  4. You keep on bringing Afghanistan as if something positive has happened there. There's been nothing but death and misery for the past 10 years, and NOTHING has changed.

    The only thing that changed is that the heroin warlords are back in power, paid and enabled by the CIA.

    The Afghan Arm is a JOKE. Have you seen the recruits? They're like "You mean we don't go on patrol if we smoke hash?" "Cool, I guess we don't go on patrol". The Taliban will be as strong as ever, the MINUTE we put out, and we'll have wasted thousands of American lives, for no apparent reason.

    The team that go bin Laden costs less than $25 million a year. we could have gotten bin Laden without the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, with this team. The invasion and occupation costs us $1 billion a WEEK.

    You're right in one respect, Mexico is like Afghanistan. Calderon has helped kill 50,000 Mexicans, and for WHAT? What has changed? NOTHING. There are just as many drugs as before.

    There is more violence than before. The people are less safe, and the price of a murder is down to $77.

  5. Apparently all it takes is $100 to move millions in product. They can catch all the players they want, the game will continue.

  6. He has done more to narcos than any other President before him, that alone is worthy of praise!

  7. Great article borderlandbeat!! Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, his brother el Arqui, and Noel Salguiero were not part of the Chapo Guzman organization anymore at the time of their capture. None the less all the media reported them as having a huge part in the organization. All you have to do is turn on the radio and listen to the narco-corridos or even hang out with people from Sinaloa to find out who are the key players in the prganization. For example, Gonzalo Inzuzna El Macho Prieto, both his sons Ivan and Alfredo Guzman Salazar, The Torres family, (Manuel Torres aka M1 was actually captured by mexican inteligince but was released after el chapo ambushed and kidnapped a couple soldiers that were travelling in a convoy, there are more then a couple corridos about this none the less no reports in the media about it for other then a small report in el rio doce about 4 soldiers being kidnapped, and Javier Torres who is to be released next year after just getting a slap on the wrist in the United States), Damaso Lopez and his son that goes by the same name (who was actually in charge of el penal deuente grande when el chapo escaped, and had la banda el Recodo this last year play at the small town of El dorado where he is from in Sinaloa, great article in el Rio Doce about it), his security forces El Bravo, el Fantasma, and El Soni also known as el 50, his nephew El Cholo Ivan who he has in the front lines fighting off the Beltran Leyva group in Guasave, The Avendaño family (Manuel and El Chikilin), and many many others, these are all off the top of my head.

  8. The Mexican goverment keeps selling lies. They can arrest or kill any amount of leaders and thugs of any cartel. But the true mafiosos that control the trade sit in banks, businesses, law enforcement, and politics. I will believe they are actually doing something when they start hitting those people. The cartels can't do a damm thing without the corrupt authorities and the people who launder their money.

  9. @ February 14, 2012 10:03 PM,Yo dumb dumb,it was Mayo Zambada who gave the interview.Theres an old saying that goes like this"It is best to keep your mouth shut & let people think you are an idiot,than to open it & remove all doubts".

  10. Siskiyou_Kid .ARE YOU ON CRACK?You tell us what Calderon should do?Or are you going to blame the US?

  11. it was el mayo who gave the interview dumbass

  12. The governments of more than one country have over stated the benefits of their anti drug, anti crime activities for years. Nothing new here. Seems like everyone but the governments themselves understand there is always someone to fill the void.

  13. Every single drug organization in Mexico has had taken hits. There will always be replacements willing to take a leadership spot as long as the cash flow is still there. Unfortunately drug users won't wake up in the morning not wanting drugs anymore.

  14. February 14, 2012 10:03 PM: the war on drugs is not only a failed policy, it is also a murderous policy.
    The only option is: L E G A L I Z E I T !!!


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