The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
US government documents obtained by a Washington DC-based non-governmental organization shed some light on one of the darkest periods in recent Mexican history: the multiple massacres of migrants between August 2010 and May 2012. However, the full story will not be known until the government of Mexico opens its own vaults.
At least 13 people have been killed in three separate gun battles in the Mexican border city of Matamoros, in what could be the first sign of a predicted upsurge in violence following the July capture of the Zetas leader Miguel Angel Treviño, alias "Z40."
The Zetas and Gulf Cartel are imposing a toll on travel between two states in eastern Mexico, in a case highlighting the extent of the incursion of organized crime into daily life where the state lacks presence.
Authorities in northern Mexico will request greater military assistance from the central government in the face of a recent surge in violence, as concern mounts over the possibility of renewed upheaval in a region once controlled by the Zetas.
It is tempting to separate Mexico's drug cartels into six hierarchical groups, each competing for trafficking turf. The reality, however, is that the Sinaloa Federation, the Gulf Cartel, the Tijuana Cartel, the Juarez Cartel, the Zetas and La Familia, not to mention several new offshoot organizations, are fluid, dynamic, for-profit syndicates that sometimes operate under the umbrella of what are effectively conglomerates but more often than not operate as independent, smaller-scale franchises.
Three men will fight to control Mexico's Gulf Cartel following the capture of leader "X20" last week, according to US sources, although whether any of them are capable of uniting the divided mafia remains to be seen.
The army's capture of the head of the Gulf Cartel, Mario Ramirez Treviño, alias "X20," shows targeted efforts by the government are working in northeast Mexico but opens another dangerous power vacuum.
A UNODC report states that the Pacific Cartel, a federation formed by Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel, has formed alliances with El Salvador's Perrones transport group, confirming information that has been circulating unaddressed in Salvadoran intelligence reports for years.
The Gulf Cartel is one of the oldest and most powerful of Mexico’s criminal groups but has lost territory and influence in recent years to its rivals, including its former enforcer wing, the Zetas. Working with Colombian suppliers, this group moves drugs north from its stronghold in Tamaulipas, and is known to outsource other activities, especially those related to human trafficking, to local “enforcer” gangs. In the cartel's heyday, its boss, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, was considered the country’s most powerful underworld leader, and its enforcement arm, the Zetas, the most feared gang.
Drug traffickers survive under one premise: adapting to change. At the regional level, the agents of change emerge from the interaction between traffickers and the authorities, as well as among drug trafficking structures. The group that does not adapt does not survive. The result is a molotov cocktail of both planned and unanticipated consequences, in which the authorities can act as a stimulus if they are corrupt, or even if they do their job. These circumstances have reconstructed drug trafficking in Guatemala in the past five years, and led to the fracturing of some groups, the violent territorial conquest of new actors, and the displacement of traditional actors.