Mapping Sinaloa Cartel Operatives in Juarez Battleground

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The latest US indictment against Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and other members of his Sinaloa Cartel is a mine of information about the group’s activities and membership in the disputed border city of Juarez in recent years.

In April, US authorities filed an indictment against 24 members of the Sinaloa Cartel operating in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, which was for a time the most violence place in the world as the Sinaloa Cartel battled the Juarez Cartel for control of the valuable border crossing.

The indictment includes leader Joaquin Guzman, alias “El Chapo,” and nine former police officers, one of whom previously worked for the Chihuahua State Police Homicide Unit. InSight Crime has mapped those named as belonging to the group’s two main branches in Chihuahua: Gente Nueva and the Garduño Cell — click on diagram for a close-up.

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The indictment, which also names among the defendants the cartel’s co-leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, was filed in US District Court in El Paso and includes charges of murder, kidnapping, racketeering and money laundering.

The 28-page document details violent acts carried out by the Sinaloa Cartel, belying the status it likes to claim for itself as less brutal than the rival Zetas. Murders committed by the cartel are described as “[often involving] extreme violence and a public display of the victim, including mutilation and dismemberment of body parts in some ritualistic or symbolic fashion.” Two grisly murders in particular are documented, which the indictment alleges were committed at the command of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, who is believed to be the leader of the cartel’s operations in the Juarez Valley.

In September 2009, according to the document, a man was kidnapped in Horizon City, Texas in retaliation for losing over 600 pounds of marijuana in a drug bust that August. The indictment alleges that he was taken to Ciudad Juarez and killed, following interrogation by Torres. His body was found in the city on September 8, his hands “severed above the wrists and placed on his chest, to serve as a warning to those who might attempt to steal from the [c]artel.”

The indictment goes on to claim that Torres ordered a raid on a wedding in Ciudad Juarez in 2010 that involved the kidnapping, torture, and murder of three men, including the groom, who had been linked to the Juarez Cartel.

According to the document, the Sinaloa Cartel uses such violence and threats of violence not only to discipline members perceived as disloyal and to punish enemies, but also to instill fear in the media, public, potential informants, and police, thus “preserving the ongoing viability” of the cartel.

None of the defendants named in the indictment have been arrested by US authorities.

Download full indictment below.

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