The latest shift in Mexico’s perpetually changing criminal landscape is an alliance between the Zetas and the Milenio Cartel, which could be an ominous sign for the Pacific state of Jalisco.

According to Luis Carlos Najera Gutierrez, Jalisco secretary of public security, an alliance between the Zetas and Milenio Cartel (also known as the Valencia Cartel) has been suspected for months, and new evidence confirms the theory. Following a September 11 clash between police and cartel gunmen in Guadalajara that resulted in the death of two suspects and a policeman, Najera claimed that authorities found a message announcing the union of the two groups. Officials have not released the contents of the message, which was allegedly found in a vehicle seized in the aftermath of the shooting.

The violence comes as the latest example of turmoil in Jalisco, a state which has recently seen a tremendous growth in killings linked to organized crime. One of the main generators of violence has been the bitter feud between the Milenio Cartel and their rivals, a group known as the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG). As InSight Crime has reported, the two have been at odds for much of the past year, causing the number of executions in the first quarter of 2011 to rise to nearly triple that of the same period last year. In February, the Milenio Cartel posted a series of ominous banners around Guadalajara threatening the CJNG with turning Jalisco into “another Tamaulipas or Guerrero,” two states where violence has recently soared.

The fact that the group has now apparently paired up with the Zetas comes as somewhat of a surprise, and could have a number of implications for the region. Formerly, the Milenio Cartel had been aligned with the Familia Michoacana and the Gulf Cartel in Jalisco under the banner of a coalition known as “La Resistencia,” a group formed with the explicit intention of resisting Zeta incursion into the state. If the Milenio Cartel are now working with the Zetas, it could mean that this alliance has fallen apart.

This suggests that the Zetas have succeeded once again at an activity that has become something of a specialty for them: taking control of areas in turmoil. They have successfully employed this strategy in the past, seizing the opportunity to move into areas where the traditional powers were weakening; including the territory of the Familia in Michoacan, the Gulf Cartel in Monterrey, and the Sinaloa Cartel in Chihuahua.

Meanwhile the Zetas’ former employers and most bitter rivals, the Gulf Cartel, don’t have much of an independent presence in Jalisco outside of the Resistencia. However, evidence suggests that they may be gearing up for a confrontation in the state. On the morning of September 13, 70 armed men arrived in trucks with “CG” ( for Cartel del Golfo, or Gulf Cartel) spray painted on them and briefly took over the town of Juchipila, Zacatecas, located just over the border from Jalisco. The men occupied the town square for several hours and then drove off, in an apparent show of force.

When asked why they had arrived, the men simply replied: “Don’t be worried, don’t be alarmed; we didn’t come here to cause problems or to hurt anyone. We’re only here to do a good cleaning.” Because of the proximity of the town to the state border, the action could have been a signal that the Gulf Cartel is planning to move into Jalisco.

This would make sense. Jalisco is home to a very important coastline for the drug trafficking industry, and would represent a significant asset to the Gulf Cartel. Its capital, Guadalajara, also serves as a key transit point for drug routes running through the middle of the country.

If true, it would explain the shift in the Milenio Cartel’s loyalty: they could be teaming up with the Zetas in order to prevent the Gulf taking over. It would also shed light on the apparent decline of the Resistencia: the Gulf might be pulling out of this coalition in order to establish their own, independent presence in the state.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.