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

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Which Gangs Rule in Mexico City?

Borderland Beat posted by DD Republished from Insight Crime

A newspaper report on “narco-taxis” paints a picture of an increasingly violent local drug trade in Mexico City, raising questions about what criminal groups are present in the country’s capital and how willing they are to use violence to exert their rule.

Newspaper El Universal spoke to a taxi driver involved in the local drug trade, who they referred to as “Señor T." He is one of an estimated 100 “narco-taxi” drivers in the capital.

Señor T spends his evenings delivering between $1,500 and $3,000 in cocaine to private clients, including bars and restaurants, in Mexico City’s wealthier neighborhoods. The taxi driver told El Universal that he sold a half kilo of cocaine each weekend.

According to Señor T, his bosses are members of the Gulf Cartel, who operate in the Condesa neighborhood -- a fashionable area with a hot nightlife scene.

He said that in the past several years, the city's drug trade has heated up, as more cartels have moved in to dispute the local market, which used to be controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel. Now -- according to a map drawn up by El Universal based on information from one security expert -- the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas, the Familia Michoacana and the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) are all present in the Federal District (known in Spanish as DF).

Further anecdotal evidence collected by El Universal indicates that criminal groups from the southern state of Guerrero are also looking to tap into Mexico City’s local drug market.

The newspaper spoke with a Federal District cocaine dealer who said he bought his drugs in Guerrero, and worked for a criminal gang from that state, which he refused to identify.

Mexico City could be a ticking time bomb.

According to newspaper Reforma, gangs from Morelos and Guerrero are based in the Mexico City neighborhoods grouped around the highway that connects the capital city to these two states. These include gangs like the Rojos, the Guerreros Unidos, the Sierra Cartel and another group known as the New Administration (Nueva Administracion). In recent weeks, a series of murders and kidnappings have occurred in these neighborhoods, with one man's body displaying signs of torture and three other corpses burned and beheaded.

With this blend of criminal interests allegedly involved in the Federal District drug market, Mexico City could be a ticking time bomb. The four states surrounding the capital -- Morelos, Mexico state, Guerrero and Michoacan -- have registered nearly a third of Mexico’s total murders for the past two years, thanks to the battle between drug cartels or their splinter groups for territorial control.

Jose Antonio Ortega, head of an NGO known as Citizen’s Council for Security and Criminal Justice (CCPSPJP), told El Universal that violence in this region "is due to its proximity to the Federal District.” Along these lines, one Mexican sociologist consulted by Revista Variopinto said the Federal District's frontiers with neighboring states were the most troubled by drug violence.

InSight Crime Analysis

El Universal’s inside look at the Mexico City drug trade raises a question that has sprung up many times over the years, often resulting in a wide range of answers: do the major cartels maintain a permanent presence in Mexico’s capital, and if so, what form does this take?

While Mexico City authorities flatly deny the cartels are present, other reports indicate otherwise. Based on El Universal's reporting, a criminal realignment of sorts could be occurring in the Federal District, as the local drug market grows and a range of cartels and their offspring attempt to grab a share of the market.
Microtrafficking has certainly become a major activity in the area. Mexico’s former Public Security Secretary, Joel Ortega, warned of the rise of taxi drivers dedicated to local drug sales back in 2006. 
Between August 2012 and September 2014, more than 3,000 people were arrested in the Federal District for selling drugs.

There's also great potential for profits in Mexico City's drug trade. Mexican groups buy a kilo of cocaine wholesale from Colombian groups in Honduras for between $8,000 and $12,000, while on the streets of the Federal District, a gram goes for about $18 to $25, meaning net earnings could vacillate between $6,000 and as much as $17,000 per kilo.

Federal bodies, security experts, and District officials have argued over what cartels are present in the Federal District for years. 

Ortega of the CCPSPJP told InSight Crime that the DF was the “crown jewel” for Mexico’s cartels partly because of its status as the country’s economic and political power center, which made it a strategic operating platform for criminal groups looking to gain greater control.

He said two places in the city with an obvious cartel presence were the capital’s international airport -- long a transit hub used by the Sinaloa Cartel and BLO -- and the nightclubs.

photo from chivis
In a notorious case last year, 12 youths and one other man -- who became known as the “Tepito 12” -- were kidnapped from a bar in Mexico City’s nightlife district, brutally murdered, and their bodies dumped in a nearby town. Reports emerged that the criminal gang suspected to be responsible for the incident was linked to the BLO, although at the time of the kidnappings, Mexico City authorities rejected the idea that “organized crime” was involved.

Both the Zona Rosa and Condesa -- the area where the taxi driver consulted by El Universal works -- lie within the district of Cuauhtemoc, one of five zones recently named by the head of the Federal District’s microtrafficking prosecutor’s office as a microtrafficking “hot spot.” It is also home to nearly a quarter of the District's youth gangs, according to authorities.

Nevertheless, incidents like the "Tepito 12" haven't done much to clarify the question of what larger drug cartels operate in the Federal District. Further obfuscating the issue is the fact that federal bodies, security experts, and District officials have argued over this for years. 

In 2011, Mexico’s Federal Police said seven Mexican cartels were present in the capital, engaging in drug production, kidnapping, extortion, and human trafficking. That same year, Joel Ortega said there were four cartels operating in the District. These included Mano con Ojos, a smaller, violent offshoot of the BLO. And as of January 2012, The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) identified four cartels in Mexico City: the BLO, the Juarez Cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas

In a more recent assessment, Mexico's Attorney General's Office, known as the PGR, identified the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) as the only "cartel" present in the District. But the PGR has acknowledged there are various mid-level criminal groups present with ties to the major cartels. These include Mano con Ojos, the Moscos, El Indio, El Pelos, and the New Administration. These last three are all allegedly linked to the organization once run by jailed BLO leader Edgar Valdez Villareal, alias “La Barbie."

As Mexico's larger drug trafficking organizations continue to fracture, they are constantly looking for new sources of revenue, and the capital is a prime location to do business.

Such reports contrast with previous claims by Miguel Angel Mancera, Mexico City’s current mayor and former attorney general, who insisted that “the city is only affected by microtrafficking” and “microtrafficking is not considered organized crime.” In August 2013, Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo claimed,"We do not have the establishment of any [drug cartel] detected [in the Federal District]."
According to Ortega of the Mexico City-based citizen security NGO, such contradictions from officials are no accident. He said it was politically useful for capital authorities to deny the presence of cartels.

He also indicated that certain authorities maintained agreements with criminal groups. An unidentified high-ranking member of Mexico's security forces hinted at this in an interview with Revista Variopinto as well, stating: "If the Federal District government denies the presence of cartels, it's because they must have some kind of deal [with them]."
 Some events have supported this: information given by a Mano con Ojos member captured in 2011 led to an investigation into federal police units allegedly collaborating with the gang. Meawhile, a shootout in the Mexico City airport in 2012 -- during which three federal police officers were killed -- led to the discovery of a cocaine smuggling ring involving police agents. 

What is certain is that Mexico City is surrounded by violent actors and is home to a lucrative local drug market. As Mexico's larger drug trafficking organizations continue to fracture, they are constantly looking for new sources of revenue, and the capital is a prime location to do business. While the Federal District may have better security and a stronger state presence than other parts of the country, the city could yet find itself in serious trouble when it comes to organized crime.


  1. who cares about DF how is Tamps. doing

    1. Por eso estan komo estan. komo si el DF no fuera de mexico. ke gentesita esa se discriminan entre ellos mismos. changos aztecas tenian ke ser pues.

    2. People are going to care about Mexico City, it's the biggest city in the world. It is important what goes on there. 25 million more or less.

    3. I guess one would believe that when it regards to influences between bad evil heart we could say so much negative sfuff, about anything and everything but when it requires positive thinking and a heart full of true patriotism remembering those who truly die for making a country what it was, when it was free citizen have the reeponsability to show how much you care and the way you live your life and stuff tha comes out of your hearts shows how much you care, I think its what im I doing about what I so negatively talk about, start with yourself and ends with your self. The family seed its what you will see grow out there, hate love destruction comes from your family and your heart.

  2. In mexico no body gives a shit what happens the longest is keep out of the media attention. But again let's say all this information is true!! The question what are they going to do about it??? There is no way to establish order in mexico with a corrupt government. Any body can be a drug dealer or a killer with out cops...shit I could be the baddest sicario against unarmed people. Again no cops , is a free for all...I hope shit hits the fan on mexico for real...maybe then some changes could be done....I guess is true no body cares until all this bullshit affects them directly. I'm so ready for the Americans to go invade mexico and make it like puerto rico....

    1. Keep waiting my racist friend

    2. @7:15 Don't listen to this racist bastard he is just another useless ignorant lost soul, brainwashed by the rich lobbyist influence US Media.

    3. HA. Very funny how son of bitches don't like it when some one tells them the truth. First thing they do is bite like DOGS. & Not accept the resposibility. IMBECILES....

    4. Well is the truth. Mexico is a shit hole...43 students death. 72 immigrants butchered. Some puppet president. A narco culture not worth a shit...why you so proud of this country called mexico , is only obvious that the mexican social system don't work.....El DF is a big capital true, but is filled with loser ass people. I bet in a real armed conflict mexico will fall in 72 hours. Cause no body cares about any one but themselves.....

  3. Even a.. nuckle head don't believe that bulldonkeyshit. (lol) You think that a mexican city with a population bigger than NYC, where the federal power resides, with a big economy is not gonna have drug cartel "branches" there?? if they got smaller ones that have less "power", why wouldn't the major criminal gangs be there? after all the D.F. has what they be looking for. Fucking head authorities including the mayor himself must be under the arm of bribery or under death threats to be covering up cartel monsters.

  4. Julian slim helu, el comandate olvidado, DFS commader, with other lebanese cmmander, corrupt miguel nazar haro, kidnapping criminal, trafficker in drugs and american stolen cars with other lebanese maffiosi like congressman darrell issa...
    --DFS commander julian slim helu controlled the airport of mexico city for billionaire brother carlos slim helu, you don't become a mexican billionaire in US 'dollahs'without help from allah and all the willing harbanos you can find or buy or both, all the way to el paso/florida/las vegas chagra brothers.
    --el DF, the chilango pickpocketing capital of the chilango pickpockets has always been at the center of all the corruption on the mexico country, exporting its murdering police and military to all points of the country to suck some more lifeblood off the mexicans pockets, and La Hermandad, (google) the brotherhood of corrupt police officers from elDeFe tellis it like it is

    1. That's true. El D.F is one of the biggest city's in the world so there is definitely a lot of cartel presence. If you know chilangos there always into something. I bet there is a lot of missing people there, probably more than tamaulipas

    2. You have a point there, el DF was for many years, notorious for being the kidnapping capital of Mexico. Way before states like Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Guerrero and Michoacan got in the picture.

    3. And all thanks to 9:37 for bringing the population thing up along with the cartel pressence explanation, and letting this fools know stuff.

  5. Every time I want to send a message I have to input the characters (letters and numbers) shown and I wind up having to input the code again because it didn't work the first time, sometimes a second time: who came up with that f... parasitic idea?! IT'S A PAIN IN THE ASS !

  6. I guess Americans are not the only ones who crave drugs.

  7. the biggest and most powerful gang on the DF is La Hermandad, a cofrady of corrupt police officers without par in the world, only the CIA rivals them in evilness and impunity, but they make a lot of illicit money, most of it is all for the bosses and politicians who protect them, as federal police, they export their evil practices to all over mexico and latin america

  8. stop cry viva mexico its time to rebel again u gobierno pobre Zapata


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