The Gulf Cartel's power has declined in recent years

A high ranking member of Mexico's Gulf Cartel has reportedly been assassinated near the group's northern stronghold of Reynosa, spelling either an incursion by the rival Zetas gang or pointing to internal fighting, either of which will only serve to weaken the once powerful cartel further.

Hector Salgado, alias "El Metro 4," was shot and killed on January 15 between the border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa, reported KNVO Noticias 48, who cite "extra-official" sources.

The death has yet to be confirmed by Mexico's authorities though intelligence sources in the country confirmed to InSight Crime that the Gulf Cartel leader was indeed killed and may have been betrayed by his own men.

Borderland Beat reports that there are two theories circulating as to who may have carried out the hit: one, it was the Gulf Cartel's former armed wing, the Zetas, who had entered Reynosa -- a Gulf Cartel stronghold -- sparking clashes between the two gangs; or, two, Metro 4's murder was the result of infighting within the Gulf Cartel.

InSight Crime Analysis

The once mighty Gulf Cartel has declined significantly in recent years, losing ground to rival organizations along with a number of key leaders. Most recently, the group's head, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias "El Coss," was captured in Septmeber 2012, raising questions over who was next in line to run the organization.

El Metro 4 is believed to have been among the cartel's main leaders, and was a major figure in the Reynosa area. His death could serve to weaken the group further. 

If the Zetas were indeed behind the attack, it would not be the first time they have moved to take Reynosa from their progenitors. In November, for example, gun battles between rival gangs left 9 dead, in what may have been an attempted incursion by the Zetas into Gulf territory. This incursion may, in part, be related to the Gulf's incursion into Monterrey in recent months, which has left the Zetas reeling in that area.

If, on the other hand, it was Metro 4's own men serving him up to assassins, the question is to whom. Have members of the Gulf Cartel moved over to the Zetas? Or, is this an internal power play? The latter explanation would not be surprising as the Gulf Cartel has a history of internal warring, particularly as its national influence has declined. 

Investigations

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

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 of ...

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

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.

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

 Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups.

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

After the lower house passed the controversial marijuana bill July 31, Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug, and provide a model for countries looking for alternatives to the world’s dominant drug policy paradigm. ...

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

The 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.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

Whether it is sustainable or not, the truce -- which the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 put into place March 2012 -- has changed the conventional thinking about who the gangs are and what is the best way to handle the most difficult law and order ...

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Since the end of El Salvador's civil war, the country's police has become a key player in the underworld. This series of five articles explore the dark ties between criminal organizations and the government's foremost crime fighting institution.

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. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting -- asking who ...