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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Cartels operating in central Mexico, Familia Michoacana controls most territory

Chivis notes are in parenthesis:  Translated and republished from Animal Poltico
Breakdown of territory for; LFM, CT, CJNG, Zetas, Sinaloa, BLO and others...

By: Víctor Manuel Sánchez Valdés*

A little over three years ago, I published an article called “Why did violence increase in Edomex?” (Available link here ), which included a series of maps indicating in which of the 125 municipalities of the State of Mexico were criminal organizations were operating,  such as the La Familia Michoacana (LFM), the Zetas, the New Generation Jalisco Cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Cartel del Golfo CDG), the Guerreros Unidos, Caballeros Templarios, among others.

In the three years since, the presence of criminal organizations has spread in the State of Mexico and Mexico City. An example is what occurred last week in  Tláhuac; That is why I considered it pertinent to update my database and perform a new radiograph of the presence of criminal organizations operating in the State of Mexico, now including the 16 delegations of Mexico City.

This database was constructed from a review of the journalistic material that has been generated around the criminality in these entities. In particular, a systematic search for reports for each municipality, delegation and criminal organization was made. Used when at least two independent reports were found that confirmed the presence of a criminal organization in a municipality or delegation, during the period from January 1, 2014 to June 8, 2017.

Studying the dynamics of organized crime in these two entities is fundamental for two reasons: the first one is that some years ago, there was little presence of criminal organizations in this area. Today, however, there are at least 14 large and medium-sized criminal organizations operating in the region, which have led to an increase in the number of crimes, such as felony homicides.

The second is that Mexico City and the State of Mexico together have more than 21% of the country's population, making them the largest national market. Thus, the size of the economy of the center of the republic has attracted many criminal organizations that seek to take advantage of this market through activities such as extortion, narcomenudeo, (retail drug sales)  kidnapping, the operation of giros negros, (refers to establishments, -usually clubs-  that are licensed by the government to operate but the activities carried out in them are illicit,  such as drug sales, prostitution), theft of fuel , among others.

In May 2014, there were nine criminal organizations operating in at least 81 of the 125 municipalities of the State of Mexico, and the presence of organized crime in Mexico City was limited to certain areas of the Iztapalapa, Cuauhtémoc, Gustavo A. Madero and Tláhuac.

Today, there are 14 criminal organizations operating in 96 of the municipalities of the State of Mexico, and 10 of these organizations have a joint presence in the 16 delegations of Mexico City .

What is most serious is that, in at least 70 of these municipalities and delegations, more than one criminal organization operates, which increases the likelihood of confrontations for territorial struggle.
In 22 of the demarcations two organizations are present;
In 25 there are three organizations; In 14 the presence of four has been registered, In Cuautitlán Izcalli and in Coacalco they operate five;
In Tejupilco, Tlalnepantla and Valle de Bravo there are six;
Nezahualcóyotl and Naucalpan have identified up to seven;
Eight operate in Ecatepec;
And in the Iztapalapa delegation there are nine .
 This is shown in the following map.
Click any image to enlarge

Unlike in other regions, the center of the country is characterized by an important fragmentation of criminal organizations; That is to say, there is no dominant cartel or a struggle between two large organizations, but a complex combination of small bands that share unequal portions of different municipalities and delegations.

This is a dangerous breeding ground because smaller criminal organizations often focus their efforts on activities that directly impact on the environment of citizens, as is the case of extortion, kidnapping or narcomenudeo. In addition, small organizations tend to be more belligerent when it comes to taking care of their territory, because their survival depends to a large extent on the control they have over them.

According to the information gathered, the criminal organization with the greatest presence in the region is the LFM, which operates in 80 of the municipalities of the State of Mexico and in six of the delineations of Mexico City. This organization has increased its influence in the region, since in 2014 it operated only in 74 of the municipalities of the State of Mexico.

In the case of LFM what is interesting, is that it was an organization that a few years ago was on the brink of disappearance, after the majority of its leaders left to create the Caballeros Templarios, but managed to survive because it moved its operations center, south of Michoacán, and north of that entity, to the State of Mexico and Guerrero.

LFM began to grow from a few cells that were installed in municipalities such as Tejupilco, Toluca, Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, La Paz and Valle de Chalco, which expanded their scope of influence to integrate other local bands. Doing so, in such a way that LFM is not a vertical organization, but rather it is a species of franchise in which small bands come together with a high degree of independence from each other. (not unlike what CT has managed to do in Michoacán and elsewhere)

The next organization in order of importance are Templarios (CT), who according to news reports, would be present in 40 municipalities of the State of Mexico and two delegations of Mexico City. However, you have to be very cautious with that number, because your current coverage could be significantly lower, since most of these reports date from 2014, the year in which most of the leaders were caught or killed.  (refer to my note above, immediately after Tuta was captured the organization under Gallito went to franchises)

In spite of this, in recent times, it has noticed the presence of members of this organization in the Valle de Toluca and the Valle de Mexico.

The third organization with the largest coverage in the area is the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), which has registered exponential growth. In 2014 it was only present in five municipalities of the State of Mexico, whereas today they are in 23 and in five of the delegations of the City of Mexico

The presence of the CJNG in the area,  we must add a strategic alliance that this organization forged with a local band from Mexico City called La Unión Tepito, which is dedicated to extortion in a number of bars and restaurants in Polanco, Condesa, Roma, Insurgentes avenue, the Colonia del Valle and Zona Rosa, as well as the sale of drugs in the center and north of the city.

Unión Tepito has a presence in nine of the delegations of Mexico City, as well as in four municipalities of the State of Mexico, and has undergone a process of growth, since some years ago its activities were concentrated only in the Cuauhtémoc and Iztapalapa delegations.

This means that, if the CJNG maintains a growth rate similar to that it has had, and continues with its alliance with La Unión Tepito, in some years it could be the dominant organization in the center of the country.

The Zetas are still in order of importance, but have lost presence in the area, since in 2014 they were in 43 municipalities of the State of Mexico, whereas today they are only in 22 and in two delegations of Mexico City. The fact that this criminal organization has lost influence is due, in part, to the fact that, since the abasement and capture of some of its leaders, such as Heriberto Lazcano, Miguel Treviño and Omar Treviño, there has been an internal struggle for control of Organization, which has led to the emergence of several divisions that led to the withdrawal of operations in some areas.

Its main area of ​​influence is the north of the State of Mexico, especially Huehuetoca, Tepotzotlán, Tequixquiac and Zumpango, from where they coordinate activities such as extortion of migrants, theft of fuel and sale of drugs.

Another organization with an important presence in the region are Los Guerreros Unidos, operating in 15 municipalities of the State of Mexico and eight of the delegations of Mexico City. The disappearance of the 43 students from the normal rural Ayotzinapa, put them in the sights of the federal authorities, who have managed to identify and capture many of its leaders.

In spite of these blows, Guerreros Unidos maintains an important presence in the south of the State of Mexico, in the municipalities that are part of the zone of Tierra Caliente and that they border with Guerrero, as it is the case of Tlatlaya, Tejupilco, Luvianos, Sultepec And Amatepec.

The Sinaloa Cartel, which operates in new municipalities of the State of Mexico and four delegations of Mexico City, completes the range of criminal organizations.

The Beltrán Leyva Organization, which through several of its cells as the Cartel del Centro has a presence in nine municipalities of the State of Mexico and two delegations of the capital, as well as the Gulf Cartel, which operates in two delegations of the Mexico City and eight municipalities of the State of Mexico.

There are four criminal organizations that only have presence in the State of Mexico: the first is Cártel del Estado, a group present in three municipalities and that is in the process of disappearing; The Reds, who operate in two municipalities; The Nueva Empresa, which is a division of LFM, which operates in two municipalities, and Los Tequileros, who also separated from the Family and have their base of operation in the north of Guerrero and have a presence in Tejupilco and Tlatlaya.

Cártel de Tláhuac, is an organization dedicated mainly to narcomenudeo, whose leader Felipe de Jesús Pérez Luna, was killed last week in an operative apparatus, and that has presence in six delegations of the City of Mexico and four municipalities Of the State of Mexico.

* Víctor Manuel Sánchez Valdés is a contributor to Cause in Common, a researcher at the UA de C, a Doctor in Public Policy by CIDE and a specialist in public security. Contact email :


  1. I thought familia michoacana was done?

      I hope they don't just teach their associates to make pretty graphics, I see many cartels and their nicknames but not one politician involved or secretary in charge to answer for the failed policies of the governments, militsry and police corporations, mister "El Vitor" could help his credibility a lot, he should know how... for example:
      Who is in chsrge of La Hermandad Policiaca these days? There would be no crime on mexico city or the whole estado de mexico without their corruption.

  2. What? lfm? I thought they were gone and buried

    1. LFM has an alliance with Los Zetas which aided in their survival.

    2. 4:46 La Famia Michoacana corrieron a los zetas de michoacan a puros vergazos, if they wanna be friends again, at least they know well each well from behind, nooo?

    3. 4:46 you are clueless bro. La familia have NEVER been allied to zetas. They still fighting till this day.

  3. Same here. So to salvage a cartel from extinction, creating and recruiting cells as franchises works. Is this what Zetas and Golfo have resorted to?

    1. Nope Z and Golfos control the most important state in Mexico for drug trafficking (Tamaulipas).

    2. Cdg and zetas were spread all over till 2010 when they split. Both of this organizations have cells of their own or other local organizations that work with them. Also the question as to what happened. Los zetas happened. Once they had the drug money and the power they decided to take over all illegal busines in their turfs and that went on to extortions of legal busineses. And other less properous groups fallowed their blue print.

    3. those small cells that are using the name brand are using it for a smart reason. hearing the name zetas causes panic and fear. hearing the name sinaloa cartel... you might think , fancy cars, tigers, catchy corridos and loyal blood . see so those small cells are actually fucking with peoples emotions. and it works :)

    4. 6:43 also familia michoacana, thete isca reason why they have most that plaza. It is known for being the deadliest cartel before cjng got in the mix.

    5. So, kinda like OXXO and Starbucks are franchises? Do they have to do training and put up new signs or what?

      This kind of data on who's doing what where, how was it gathered? It's not like they're going to fill out online surveys and say "oh yeah mon we flipped last year we're no longer a BLO cell we're CJNG now mon, look at our new tattoos and guns and radios."

      @ 5:39 - you called it exactly right on what the Z's did. That's why they're so feared even now. The MexiFeds would never admit it but for a while there the Z's were totally in control from Tamau down through Chiapas and Guatemala.

      Sure are a lot of franchises out there, the underground economy in Chilangolandia es gigantisimo.

    6. 8:52 don't start with, "cuz they threw a few heads at a club" cuz that shit is old. Day something new

    7. Pinchi bola de pendejos "los setas", (Aay güüey, Que miedo!)
      estan en el pinchi bote o muertos, sus relevos valen pura pinchi shit y sus dues esos si, libres y multimillonarios, en dolares güey, como la ves, epn, el bertie boy moerira, fidel herrera beltran, mario marin, rafael moreno valle, gabino cue, todos sus jefes los mas chingones, ahi andan todavia. Buscando hueso. Adios pinchis alucines.

    8. Yeah, yeah...Franchises pay their dues,
      these pendejos don't make enough money to eat.
      And whatever money they make "extra" goes to the polizetas and military, the piso gets paid first and fack everything else, if you do not have the money it is your problem por andar ahi de caliente o te mochas o te mueres.

    9. No "regeneration"
      all the mini gramero cartels have coming is degeeration, the smarter ones will work for the new sheriffs in town, state police like FUERZA TAMAULIPAS or some more powerful godsons of federally powerful DONS like Manuel Cavazos Lerma and Manlio fabio beltrones or fidel herrera beltran. But the governor in charge is the good one everywhere. make him a cake, girls

  4. Great information, nicely presented. thank you Victor and Chivis.

  5. Thank you for bringing this topic up.
    What gets me is this. LFM is made up of what? Families. How could people even think La Familia Michoacana was broken up? Did the families disapear. I mean you've got gramdmas, kids, cousins, uncles, involved in this.
    They didn't stop dealing dope suddenly. They hate the spotlight, thats for sure, and will kill, snitch on anyone who poses a threat to their family. And this just is what I have seen in the US.
    I cant even imagine what its like in Mexico. I feel sorry for Edomex and DF. LFM is like a brutal religious cult that deals dope. I dont think they can be stopped.

    1. It started like cjng and was taking plazas from zetas but it was so brutal that the government had to intervine. They killedcand captured most their leaders and Calderon made the "michoacanazo" code name for government to go to michoacan and stop tge cartel that was growing so rapidly. They were forced out of Michoacan after half of la familia split abd went to guerrero, df, morelos, and colima (wich they have a war going with cjng and teamed up with cds)

    2. Calderon went to michoacan. To break up la familia and gave the plaza to the CT, then epn gave it to cjng la familia again but used the AutoDefensas set up for him by the colombians, with culombIan general scar naranjas directing it, and you can blame the colombianization of mexico under EPN TO HIS COLOMBIAN CONNECTIONS with very little effort unless you are dumber than a rock.

    3. True, those michoacanis are ruthless

  6. What comes to my mind after having read the article? Mafia-state!

    I bet most of the mexican elite lament the current state of the country whilst profiting from the corruption they have installed and which keeps their pocket filled and not understand that they themselves is one of the underlying causes to the problem.

    Only a revolution where the corrupt elite is expelled from the country can save Mexico today.

    1. 3:04 the elite needs to be executed on the spot, and the government sellouts need to be executed by a beating up and get hanged from meat hooks for as long as they can hang up there.
      No Quarter and No Mercy, they asked for it.

    2. 3:04 no revolution is possible while the US keeps supporting the mexican government with billions of dollars, weapons, credits for more weapons, gorilla training and paid mercenaries...
      --You are spousing a "revolution" that will murder millions of mexicans and you will not be there to help one of them.

  7. mencho cant even control his home state

  8. Ahi cholo de los angeles que controlan todo.

  9. Luego que porque estan como estan si con tanto mandril que quiere ser el siguiente gran capo de la droga pobres pendejos alucinados.

    1. "Divided They Stand" is a great American book, it illustrates the US for you, and everything it says applies to mexico, the cartels represent a divided mexico that keeps getting exploited by foreigners with national collaboration of a government that has always sold cbeap the mexicans and their country.

  10. Just like in Monterrey, you have Z, CdN, CdG, CdS, BLO, CdJ, CJNG. LFM tried to establish in the outskirts (presa de la boca area) aided by CdG (2010) but were repelled by the military.

    I think old school CdG (Abregos loyals) had a good amount of power during the PRI regime early 90s - 2014. They also had good relations with CdJ, CdS,BLO and even high ranking Z after the break up. Recently many of those Abregos loyals have been murdered. Seems like the new generation of mobsters want house cleaned of old rulers. I wish I had more time to chat but my source perished on june. Interesting stories he had,and lasted alittle over 30 yrs in that deadly ambient. I dont choose my family but thank god my father is a great retired surgeon and has always guided us through gods path.

    Saludos Chivis :*

    1. We'd love to hear some CDG stories. I have always been interested in the Abrego loyalists/holdovers. Please tell some stories.

    2. I will but how can I even start, some where very brief comments and others where ancedotes , Paz para todos.

  11. Ey guise! Its me juaritonaladas. I read y'alls print and it fills my soul with laughter. Thank You.


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