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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Mexico Claims Premature Victory After Troops Deployed to Calm Nuevo Laredo

By Victoria Dittmar for InSight Crime.

This article reposted with permission from InSight Crime. Read their high quality analysis on organized crime and citizen security in Latin America here.

According to the Mexican president, the recent arrest of the alleged leader of the Northeast Cartel and a subsequent major military deployment along the US border is proof that the country's security strategy is working. But the long-term impact of these moves is up for debate.

During a press conference on March 22, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that “everything is back to normal” in Nuevo Laredo, a border city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

Following the arrest of Northeast Cartel (Cartel del Noreste - CDN) leader Juan Gerardo Treviño Chávez, alias “El Huevo,” on March 14, Nuevo Laredo had seen chaos. Burned-out vehicles lined a number of streets, CDN members engaged in shootouts with authorities.

In response, on March 15, the federal government deployed 783 troops followed by 250 members of the special forces three days later in response to the wave of violence.

For Mexican and US authorities, Treviño Chávez was the leader of the CDN and a top member of a feared group of hitmen known as the Hell Troop (Tropa del Infierno). Considered one of the most dangerous criminal figures along the US-Mexico border, Treviño Chávez was extradited to the United States the day after his arrest. He is wanted by the Western District Court of Texas on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

Mexico's foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, described El Huevo's arrest as one of the "most important of the decade." But while significant, his arrest and the government's response are not evidence of a functioning security strategy.

Below, InSight Crime looks at three reasons why:

Criminal Networks in Tamaulipas Remain Intact

While the CDN is a major security threat in Mexico and Treviño Chávez was seemingly its leader, the cartel continues to function. Speculation that his cousin, Juan Cisneros Treviño, alias "Juanito," has taken over leadership of the CDN has already begun spreading in the Mexican press.

Mexican and US authorities have once again followed the same recipe they have turned to for decades: arresting or killing the head of a criminal structure without dismantling its foundations.

The CDN serves as clear evidence of how a fragmented group remains strong. It was itself formed by splinter elements of the Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo - CDG), the Zetas and other smaller groups present in Tamaulipas. These organizations may have eventually cracked under internal and external pressure but the deaths or arrests of top leaders did not end their criminal reach. Instead, it led to fragmentation, reconfiguration and the creation of new criminal networks.

Today, far from strict hierarchical and unified structures, criminal organizations in Mexico have evolved into increasingly divided and multifaceted groups. They often act as networks of cells and not as top-down units, so each cell does not necessarily have influence beyond its territory.

“These groups [Zetas, Gulf Cartel, Northeast Cartel] survive through small local structures, not as large organizations,” Marisol Ochoa, an investigator with Mexico's Ibero-American University and expert in the evolution of criminal dynamics in Tamaulipas, told InSight Crime. 

“[The cells] depend on their ability to expand, territorial control and resistance to other [rival] groups," she added.

In that sense, Treviño Chávez's arrest was likely a big blow, but not a catastrophic one, for the Northeast Cartel, which is also present in much of northern and central Mexico.

It is likely, however, that actors such as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación - CJNG) and other criminal gangs from Tamaulipas will test the resolve of the CDN and make a move on its territory, as InSight Crime recently reported.

Use of Armed Forces to Combat Violence Continues

Despite an initial shift in security policy discourse in Mexico and a new bilateral agreement with the United States, the armed forces continue to be the country's go-to strategy for combating criminal violence.

The operation to capture Treviño Chávez and related military exercises suggest the government has no intention to seek alternatives anytime soon. The military deployment in Nuevo Laredo may be a short-term solution to stop the acts of violence perpetrated after El Huevo's arrest. But, without a functional local police force and civil society, this strategy is bound to fail.

In Mexico and the rest of Latin America, militarized and heavy-handed strategies have often resulted in a spiralling violence. Mexican states with an important military presence include MichoacánGuanajuato and Zacatecas, which continue to weather constant armed clashes, high homicide rates and countless displays of brutality on public roads.

Military participation in citizen security has also been linked to human rights violations, and Tamaulipas is no exception. Organizations like Amnesty International and the Nuevo Laredo Human Rights Committee have warned about dozens of possible cases of extrajudicial executions in the state.

Renegotiation of Protections

Because of its strategic position on the Texas border, Tamaulipas houses plentiful criminal enclaves, often rooted in shifting power dynamics between criminal actors and local elites. One example is the case of former governor Tomás Yarrington (1999-2005), now jailed in the United States’ for collaborating with the Zetas and the CDG. Francisco Cabeza de Vaca, who ends his term as governor this year, has also been linked to the CDG."The involvement of several law enforcement officers in criminal acts in Tamaulipas indicates that there has always been some kind of protection for organized crime,” Professor Guadalupe Correa, of George Mason University in Virginia, United States, told InSight Crime in June of last year.

And with the entry of a new Tamaulipas government in October, the Northeast Cartel will likely seek renewed negotiations and protection agreements over the coming months


  1. Mexico one giant No-Go Zone!!! And expanding to many parts of America! It's so bad now that The FBI has stopped reporting crime statistics!

  2. Shamefully this is on American's love for illegal drugs . The Cartels are getting stronger by the day and seemingly are hand in hand with the Biden Administration . Mexico must start looking for True Allies , True Niegbor's , and not the Back-Stabbing the US has done for Decades

    1. Mijo you hate Sinaloa Cartel, Mijo you hate USA
      Mijo don't forget the millions of dollars they give Mexico. Quick to jump to nonsense. You remind me of Thruther.

  3. That's how sinaloa will end up like soon just watch..
    Just a matter of time.
    Come to think of it they are only are tough in their corridos 🤣
    They will just continue to snitch each other out and make corridos of how brave and ruthless they are

    1. Let them snitch each other, big fuken deal!

    2. Playing the snitch card again 😭
      -snitchaloa groupies

    3. 10:21 how stupid can you be your the one playing the snitch card.

    4. 11:28 oh yea, I forgot about Catalina... 🤣
      Stupid groupies hahaha

    5. Unkown is a 12 year old, gets his jollies picking on people in here, go back to Reddit.

  4. Has anyone seen SIR? They say he is a good masussue, my nalgas need some rubbing alcohol put on.

    1. Ask Unkown he likes to do that type of stuff, he has been hounding Cuernavaca for weeks already.

    2. Unkown has family issues, he is currently a rebel without a cause. He hounds CuernaVaca, Lobo, and others in here, he needs help from the Loco in the head doctor.

    3. 10:07 you get your alcohol rub I'll even buy the alcohol, I may light a torch when it is fresh on your ass...

    4. 10:39 for reals your some kinky out of this world, that's how some people like it, put me on fire for 4 seconds daddy.

    5. There's more than 1 anonymous. Anonymous was the option given before the new BB format was introduced. So don't confuse me with the other anonymous users that go after Cuernavaca. All I do is provide facts, expose fake news spreaders and mongolitos.

    6. 8:16 you don't fuken gives facts, you try to hide the nothing of Obrador, look Obrador nuthugger Mongol lawyer.
      From reading articles we are alert and awake that Obrador cares less about it's citizens, favors the Cartels more, due to BRIBES coming in.

  5. Mexico is one Failed or Narco state where Narcos rullzzzzzzs. Stay away from Mexico.

  6. CJNG Works for the president. The will soon be in charge of NL and Tamaulipas.

    1. Really? Is that why the president arrested Menchos wife, kids and brother in laws? 🤦🏻‍♂️ les digo.

  7. En Nectar Lima siempre mandaran Los Zetas, estan muy engranados.
    Como las pandillas en Los Angeles, llevan generaciones y seguirán generaciones mas.


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