A report mapping cartel presence in and around Mexico City as well as new details on the sophistication of the Tláhuac Cartel, which has been behind recent civil unrest, further discredits authorities' downplaying of organized crime's influence in Mexico's capital.
Mexico's Attorney General's Office is investigating ten different criminal organizations operating in Mexico City and suburb municipalities within the State of Mexico and Morelos state, according to information obtained by Reforma.
Among them are several major criminal organizations: the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels, the Zetas and the Familia Michoacana. These operate alongside more local organizations including the Unión Tepito, which has led clashes over control of Mexico City's microtrafficking trade in the past, and which has ties to larger national groups.
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Other groups mentioned in the report have previously been labeled affiliates of larger criminal organizations by the Attorney General's Office. Such is the case of the Nueva Empresa, which has allegedly worked under the Familia Michoacana.
C/o of Reforma
New details have also surfaced on the Tláhuac Cartel, which recently came under the spotlight for sparking chaos on Mexico City's streets after its leader's was killed in a shootout with marine forces. The group developed a fleet of more than 1,000 motorcycle-taxis to distribute drugs while serving as a vast network of street informants, according to Milenio. Dozens of these "mototaxis" set up road blocks in the capital following the death of their commander.
InSight Crime Analysis
Reforma's report confirms that organized crime still holds sway over areas of Mexico City, despite long-standing claims that no cartels are present in the capital.
Mexican authorities have time and again downplayed the extent of organized crime's influence in Mexico City by arguing that only small microtrafficking groups operate in the area, as was the case following the recent Tláhuac Cartel-related violence. But the apparent sophistication of the Tláhuac Cartel -- including its fleet of mototaxis, its high murder tally (it is allegedly behind 80 murders this year alone) and an area of control that is more populated than entire Mexican states -- undermine authorities' stance.
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The debate nevertheless raises the issue of how one defines a cartel, and what criminal groups fall under this category. Still, however one chooses to name such groups, their toll on citizen security and government resources is evident.