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

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Researchers At CIDE Find Over 150 Criminal Groups Operating In Mexico

"narcomappingmx" for Borderland Beat

The Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), a government affiliated Mexican think tank, released a database showing that there are over 150 active criminal groups operating in Mexico. The data, collected through open sources, is available for use on their website. 

This is not the first attempt by researchers to count and categorize the number of criminal groups in Mexico. Both Mexico’s government and civil society organizations have researched extensively on this topic to attempt to gain a better understanding of Mexico’s organized crime infestation.

In 2019, Mexico’s attorney general's office released a list showing that they had found 37 criminal groups operating in Mexico.

Crisis Group, an investigative NGO, published a study in 2020 based on the reporting of El Universal and Borderland Beat, finding that there were 197 criminal groups in Mexico.

More recently, Mexico’s national intelligence agency reported in 2021 that there were just 49 groups operating in Mexico.

CIDE study however, found that there are 150 groups, the largest of these being the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion and the Cartel de Sinaloa.

Mexico City was the region with the most criminal groups operating at a shocking 51, a considerabke increase from the 40 reported by Borderland Beat in 2020. In general, CIDE's data shows that central Mexico contains the most criminal groups. This aligns with data and reporting on the numerous active conflicts in Guanajuato, State of Mexico, and Morelos.

Additionally, CIDE identified 163 ongoing conflicts and 179 alliances between groups. These included armed wings of larger organizations.

CIDE’s data set diversifies itself in several ways however. It has presented its findings in a data set visualized in a map on their website. The map shows how many and which criminal groups are active in each state, as well as detailing which groups are known to have rivalries with each other.

This easily available research will prove extremely useful for journalists, researchers, government officials, as well as anyone interested in the topic.

All of these studies, despite their different methodologies and different results point to several commonly agreed upon findings. The first is that the number of criminal groups in Mexico has exploded since the outset of the drug war, and threatens to further increase.

Also, there are two primary hegemons who are engaged in the majority of conflicts either directly or through alliances, the CDS and the CJNG.

Source: CIDE, BBC, Lantia Consultores, InSight Crime, Economista, Crisis Group


  1. Did any researchers get killed being nosey?

    1. 2:26 cómo chingaos, son del gobierno y usan puras pinchis estadisticas...estilo INEGI and CISEN
      maybe ioan grillo told them how to do it and sensationalize their BS.
      Meanwhile on the US, BS Artist lawmakers pontifricate about abortion (after aborting their own Oringe Insurrection) in a "Bipartisan Way" to appease to the LGBTQ/BLM MLN USA.

    2. Mr Sir
      The Topic is Mexico criminals not USA.

    3. 6:41 well the border is far away from the Economista, el economist, cide...
      I can't see anything wrong with a comparative example of issues on both sides of the borderland.
      I'd suggest you bring your favorite issues and share with us, AND THEN we can engage in the pissing contest, I am not affraid of getting put in my place

  2. That's like trying to figure out how many gangs operate in southern California let alone the rest of the U.S.

    1. It's a tough task for sure. Even though each study comes up with a different number, there is value in recognizing the trends they all agree on - increased fragmentation & small cartels aligning with larger CDS/CJNG battle lines.


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