Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has, for a long time, been revered as the most powerful drug lord in the world, with an estimated net worth of about a billion dollars. Presently in prison awaiting an extradition order to the United States, he has been viewed as the uniting force within the Sinaloa Cartel.
However, following his capture, his cartel is now slowly losing control and this has led to a rise in gang-related deaths as rival drug trafficking organizations fight to expand their territory in spheres controlled by it.
Just recently, a war was reported to have broken out between El Chapo Guzman’s cartel and the Jalisco New Generation drug trafficking organization. The war between the two rivals is said to have started in Tijuana, in northern Baja California.
According to the El Universal newspaper, the clash has extended to the rest of the peninsula.
“A war broke out between cartels without the state, municipal, and federal governments being able to do anything about it,” According to Víctor Martínez de Escobar, who spoke to the newspaper.
It has been reported that prior to his arrest in 2014, El Chapo traveled throughout the Baja California region using a Cessna plane, while under the protection of civil aeronautics, federal police, and the military. Following his capture, Baja California Sur is said to have seen a spike in violence, with Sinaloa cartel hitmen being brought in at one point using ferries to engage the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
That said, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is one of the most ruthless cartels in Mexico, and in 2011, it brutally slaughtered 35 gang members of a rival gang. The bodies were dumped on a highway during rush hour. This was reported by The Daily Beast.
The cartel is said to be destabilizing Jalisco. According to a report by Vice released earlier this year, experts had warned that there was a risk of authorities losing control of certain areas in the region. This was after gang members started targeting law enforcement officers. The following is an excerpt of the report.
“Five police officers were murdered in two separate gangland-style shootings in Jalisco in the past week, while a local mayor survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday for the second time in the last six months. The first attack took place on February 24, when a team of gunmen shot dead three municipal police officers in their patrol car on a busy road in Tlaquepaque, a popular tourist district within the state capital Guadalajara.
“Cellphone footage showed the assassins firing off at least ten rounds before driving away, leaving a thick trail of blood streaming from the police car. The chief of police in Tlaquepaque and his deputy resigned shortly after as a result of personal safety concerns.”
In Tijuana, an area largely controlled by El Chapo Guzman’s cartel, the CJNG is said to be challenging its influence by ambushing rival gangs. The recent arrest of a Jalisco cartel member with 112 pounds of cocaine in Tijuana is said to have confirmed reports that the drug trafficking network has expanded its operations in the area.
About why El Chapo Guzman’s cartel continues to have considerable control of the drug trade even after his capture, Mike Vigil, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief, told Business Insider that the Sinaloa cartel structure, which is structured horizontally rather than vertically, enables simultaneous operations to go on even after the fall of a kingpin. Its semi-autonomous subsidiaries are expected to survive events such as the extradition of El Chapo.
[AP Photo/Marco Ugarte]