• Connect with us on Linkedin

Mexico Mass Graves: Evidence of Sinaloa Cartel Split?

Mexico's authorities said that bodies recently found in mass graves in Durango are victims of divisions within the Sinaloa Cartel, offering further evidence of a split among the various Sinaloa-allied factions in this vital northern state.

Linkedin
Google +

According to a report from the Associated Press (AP) based on interviews with the Federal Police, authorities were led to the clandestine mass graves by Sinaloa operative Bernabe Monje Silva, following his arrest in March. He is reputedly the fourth-in-command of a group known as Los M, which is closely aligned with longtime Sinaloa Cartel boss Ismael Zambada and his partner, Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias "El Chapo."

While initially overshadowed by the discovery of several mass graves in Tamaulipas, the death toll in Durango has steadily increased as the authorities have continued digging. More than 200 bodies have so far been discovered, some buried for only a few weeks and others for more than a year. According to the AP's sources, many of them were enemies of Los M.

For much of the past few years, the Zetas were Los M's principal adversaries in Durango, a northern state that contains trafficking routes to key border cities like Juarez, Reynosa, and Nuevo Laredo. However, an anonymous Federal Police source who spoke to the AP said that Los M have for the last few months been locked into a battle for control over Durango's smuggling routes with two rival groups from within the Sinaloa federation. The source identifies these groups as the Canelos and the Cabreras. This conflict is presumably responsible for a large number of the bodies in the mass graves.

The AP's report adds further information to accounts from Mexican newspaper Proceso, which reported earlier this month that the Canelos are a group of traffickers led by Abel Rodriguez Guzman, who hails from the town of Canela, Durango. Their allies, the Cabreras, are headed by Felipe Cabrera Marquez and his three brothers. Both groups have longstanding business ties to the Sinaloa bosses, but they appear to be acting on their own now. As is common among Sinaloa-connected traffickers, Rodriguez also has personal ties to the cartel’s small circle of leaders: his grandson is the nephew of Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, who, until his death last summer, functioned as the Sinaloa’s foremost man in the Pacific region of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Colima.

However, even before the most recent revelations, there were rumblings of strife within the Sinaloan network. Over the past few months, there have been signs of discontent from Los M and the Gente Nueva, another Sinaloa subgroup associated with the organization’s ongoing fight with the Juarez Cartel in Chihuahua. Both groups have uploaded videos to the web and hung “narcomantas,” or posters, around Durango accusing Cabrera and his backer, Noel Salgueiro, of trying to move into the city. The dispute has resulted in a series of gunfights and executions around the region.

The fighting in Durango raises the question of whether the discord could spread to other regions of Sinaloa power, or even up the chain of command. The group’s unified top tier (Guzman, Zambada, and Juan Jose Ezparragoza Moreno) and its enormous sphere of influence (extending from Tijuana down much of Mexico’s Pacific coast) sets it apart from some of its more volatile competitors, and serves as a basis for its hegemony.

The answer to this question has serious implications for Mexico's security. Previous splits within the Sinaloa clique have spawned some of the bloodiest episodes in the country's recent history. The feud between Guzman and his former ally Arturo Beltran Leyva led to thousands of killings. Another split with former Guzman's former associate Vicente Carrillo, which stemmed in large part from Guzman’s murder of Vicente’s brother Rodolfo in 2004, helped turn Juarez into one of the deadliest cities on the planet.

Beyond the bloodshed, such internal quarrels, should they spread, have the potential to reshape the map of Mexico’s drug trade. If the Sinaloa splinter group were to secure the backing of an outside organization and wrest control of cities like Durango, Guzman and his partners could see an erosion of their power in Mexico’s underworld.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Uruguay Didn't Want to Legalize Marijuana (But Did it Anyway)

Uruguay Didn't Want to Legalize Marijuana (But Did it Anyway)

Nelly Santos was worriedly waiting for her son to come home after receiving a call from his school. Daniel arrived with his head lowered, his cap visor covering his face and his eyes reddened. He'd...

Read more

Colombia's BACRIM Count More Than 3400 Fighters

Colombia's BACRIM Count More Than 3400 Fighters

Police in Colombia have stated that the country's major drug trafficking syndicates currently have more than 3,400 members, present in at least 15 of the Colombia's 32 provinces.

Read more

Cuban Officials Involved in Drug Trafficking: Defector

Cuban Officials Involved in Drug Trafficking: Defector

A former counterintelligence agent accused high-ranking security officials in Cuba of trafficking drugs, an assertion that suggests deep government complicity in the drug trade – if true. 

Read more

Latest Criminal Profile