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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

With 100 Murders in January, Is Ciudad Juárez on the Brink of a New Gang War?

 "MX" for Borderland Beat

In this report, Borderland Beat analyzes the gangs operating in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua; much of the violence in this city is dictated by competition for street-level drug sale spots.

Sunlight has faded but gunmen have already arrived at the front porch of a modest home just in time for dinner. With quiet efficiency they make it through a gate and start spraying people with bullets. Three men cripple to the ground in semi-fetal position, dead at the scene. 

The evening has barely started and Ciudad Juárez already has a new massacre. But it is still early.

A few hours later, a teenager was killed outside a convenience store, his body riddled with bullets. Just down the road, a dead man was dumped at an abandoned lot. His eyes were wide open, staring fixedly, as if he got a last glimpse of his assassins before he died.

By the end of the evening, 7 people were dead. The next day, 6. And the day after, 8. 

In Ciudad Juárez, murder is everywhere. And although there are thousands of police officers in the city, citizens are utterly unprotected.

The homicide numbers in Ciudad Juárez do not look encouraging. Last month, 100 people were murdered. In the first week of February 13 people were killed. The state-attorney general says the violence is driven by gangs competing over street corners to sell heroin, cocaine, and meth.

"In addition to the drug sales, we also have gangsters deserting one group and joining others."

"There is determination from all gangs in Ciudad Juarez to extend their control over rival-controlled neighborhoods. These are the main causes of the violence in this city", an official said.

These criminal groups mostly operate by proxy. They hire neighborhood gangs to do the dirty work, whether it be smuggling drugs into the U.S., selling them in Mexico's puntos (drug sale points), or murdering drug dealers. These street dealers are in some cases also the triggermen.

Neighborhood murders 

Homicides in the city are concentrated in neighborhoods located in the west and south-east areas, as shown in the maps created by the State Attorney General's Office. Crimes such as drug dealing (Spanish: narcomenudeo) converge in these residential areas.

City sectors such as Anapra, Felipe Ángeles, Bellavista, Barrio Alto, Zona Centro and Anáhuac in the west and Finca Bonita, Cerradas del Parque and Riberas del Bravo in the southeast report recurring murders.

Gangs like Los Aztecas, La Empresa, and La Linea (linked to the old Juarez Cartel) operate in western Ciudad Juarez. Rival groups like Gente Nueva, Artistas Asesinos, and Los Mexicles (linked to the Sinaloa Cartel) operate in the southeastern side. Other Sinaloa Cartel-affiliated groups like Los Salazar and Los Jaguares do not have presence in Ciudad Juarez.

In this user-created graphic, authorities show that most of the January 2021 murders were committed in the western neighborhoods in Ciudad Juarez. Only one murder was committed across the border in El Paso, Texas, last month.

Jorge Nava López and Ricardo Realivázquez, two state officials from Chihuahua, affirmed that there is a gradual decrease in homicides because of the high-profile arrests security forces have made.

"These gang members are constantly changing from one criminal group to another", they said, which shows that the efforts conducted by security forces have hurt the local gangs' structure. 

Nava Lopez said that part of the strategy to reduce murders is to carry out arrest warrants against suspected murderers. He assured that in January alone, more than 30 alleged murderers were captured and brought to court.

"These people are responsible for many more homicides than those mentioned in their arrests warrants," he explained. But it is the prosecution's responsibility to prove these murders in court, a task that is oftentimes easier said than done.

Top Fugitives

There are several top cartel members who authorities believe operate in Ciudad Juarez. As reported by Borderland Beat, one of them is Omar Alejandro Garza Santana or Omar Alejandro Chávez Santana ('El Nomo', The Gnome), the brother of jailed former La Empresa and Aztecas leader Gerardo Santana Garza, or Gerardo Garza Santana ('El 300').

These were the 10 most wanted suspects in the Juarez/El Paso border area in late 2019. Their likeness on posters like this one will be displayed at border crossings and other public places so residents of Texas and Mexico can call in with tips on their whereabouts. (photo by Julian Resendiz/The Border Report)

Another high-ranking fugitive is Jesus Salas Aguayo ('El Chuyin'), who was worked for the old Juarez Cartel under the Carrillo Fuentes family. He is wanted by the U.S. government for drug trafficking and leading a continuous criminal enterprise.

Chuyin was arrested in 2015, but a judge released him from prison last year. Ciudad Juarez officials say he is active in the city and is currently under investigation for the recent police attack in Nuevo Casas Grandes, as reported by Borderland Beat.

Social inequality

Nemesio Castillo, a sociology professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez, states that the homicides are not only gang-related.

"Government policies have not been able to or have not had the capacity to reduce or control the violence ... social aid and intervention should be urgent," he says.

The percentage of those considered poor or moderately poor has shrunk in recent years, according to Ciudad Juarez's development office. However, much of the population is still isolated, living on low wages, suffering from high utility costs and rising rent/housing prices, and does not enjoy the basic services for a city of 1.5 million people.

Ciudad Juarez has had many labels in recent years. One that stuck firmly was given at the height of Mexico's drug war: the world's deadliest city. Things have gotten better over the years (statistically speaking), despite the 100 murder count registered last month.

But the citizens of Ciudad Juarez will have to continue to look across the border in El Paso, Texas, and wonder why things are different in their city. In El Paso, there was only one murder last month.

An invisible geographical line divides Ciudad Juarez with El Paso, a short trip into a world with well-kept streets, beaming shopping centers, and safe neighborhoods.

SourcesDiario de JuarezDiario de Juarez (2)Noticieros Televisa; Borderland Beat archives


  1. Aztecas gang is fighting everyone in Juarez. This is the reason for many of the cities murders. They are also infighting because one part of the gang became Empresa and with La Lineas help started bashing the other side over the other side selling meth.
    Empresa and La Linea claim Barrio Azteca which they call Old School Aztecas and is not Empresa is siding with Mencho or CJNG to sell this shit.
    Which is not true!
    Aztecas sell for themselves but Linea still has a strick no meth in Jaurez policy claiming that this shit kills customers sooner than the drugs like heroin or coke and marijuana they sell.
    Then Aztecas are at war with Mexicles and Artisits assasins of which some or most Mexicles began working with the Empresa/Linea as well as Artist Assassins whose numbers or areas of influence have greatly dropped. Aztecas old school call traitors to the Empresa Aztecas for having sided with their former enemies Mexicles and Artist Assasins.
    Sinaloa still has most control in the easern outskirts of the citu but is not clear if they are still killing rivals in the city proper.
    It's a fuckin stupid war that should not be going on due to the fact that even though Juarez does not permit meth sales in their streets they should not be surprised that people buy that crap.
    Reason being is that that shit is the cheapest to obtain and get high with and as long as some dumbfucks can get high without having to spend a fortune they are going to do that.
    Aztecas Old School also began selling meth for themselves because they wanted to distance themselves from La Linea who after the Sinaloa war began using Aztecas to kill Federal Police only and not risk their own hitmen being arrested or killed over this. Aztecas old school needed money to survive and they amswer to the original Barrio Aztecas members locked up in prison in the U.S.
    Empresa Aztecas are not welcomed with the U.S. counterparts.

    1. Wtf You say Meth kills before Heroin does ? Not its the fent but Heroin has always been a drug of od""ers
      Unles Something is new with meth Heroin

      All Drugs are bad and in the end kill

    2. Linea claims meth kills faster than heroin.

    3. 7:18 hay niveles!
      Meth is the drug for cheap ass garbage pickers, some choice well off rich boys and failed crack hoes, last stop before Krokodyl helps them rot alive.
      And it usually starts smoking a little grifa with some innocent friends.

  2. Fantastic article BB. Juarez doesn’t get national attention anymore as it used to but things are still bad. I read in the past that lots of these thug kill in Juarez and live in El Paso... I miss the old Juarez I once visited.

    1. 7:25 El Pasojo Killers would never risk getting caught or arrested in Cd Juarez, decent police in el paso is what makes the difference, because in Juarez the violence is firmly rooted in the city and state police combined with federales and military and politicos from every party, including president wammabe javier corral and states attorney peniche of the fraudster banking family whose patrician bankster escaped to australia after robbing his own bank, it is like drug addicted Duterte in the Philipines, all the murdering is because of his motherfaking police and army.

  3. Cd juarez is a big plaza room for multiple groups to operate. Ncdj is not a big cartel but they are able to defend their plazas and themselves from government and contras

    1. Nuevo Cartel de Juarez, where do they fall in this equation? Is that the new La Linea?

    2. They are all the same thing.

    3. @MX Ncdj is Carrillo Fuentes leadership giving orders to La Linea Leadership from different parts of all over Chihuahua which La Linea since the early 90s fought in the streets against rivals for Los Carrillos. La Linea similar to los salazar like how they work for los chapitos now but I doubt Carrillo Fuentes family now have any power like los chapitos and it seems like la linea are becoming the shotcallers for ncdj or already been when Chapitos killed "Cesarin" Cesare Carrillo Leyva

    4. @5:01: Thank you for the thorough explanation. That makes a lot of sense. Are we 100% sure there isn't another Carrillo out there old enough to command NCDJ like Cesarin?

      Another question. Any info on Los Linces? I didn't include them above because authorities didn't include them in the infographic. I've read they are an "armed wing" of La Linea.

    5. Los linces are Linea especial Forces all ex military and yes they are loyal to the Carrillos

  4. Mexicles haven't been with sinaloa for a while but like the article says there's a lot of changing sides so it's hard to tell who is with who. chuyin ran cereso when he was there he got the leader of mexicles El Lalo and others to form la empresa but Lalo got moved to Chiapas so who knows how shit is now

    1. Found the article about El Lalo from Bb. You’re right. He was calling shots from prison. Pretty crazy

    2. Mexican private prison owmers make a lot of coin from housing prisoners and trafficking their nalgas, even carlos slim helu is in the business, AMLO REFUSES TO PAY THEM HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS OF PEISOS, (dollars preferred)

  5. The artists assesinos are fighting with the Mexicles. They are both enforcement wings of the sinaloa cartel. The artists asesinos made a video threatening the Mexicles.

    1. In Juarez I think it doesn’t matter. Everyone is switching and switching too often.


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