Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is arguably the most controversial drug lord in the world. Currently thought to be about 60, he has built an unparalleled legacy in the drug trafficking world, with estimates indicating that his cartel has for the past decade trafficked over a hundred tons of illegal drugs into the United States.
According to a recent report by El Universal, the Sinaloa cartel, which he heads, has more planes than the national Mexican airline Aeroméxico, which currently has 134 of them. Apparently, planes seized by the authorities belonging to his cartel between the years 2006 and 2015 number 599, with the number of those in operation thought to be considerable.
That said, El Chapo’s success in the drug trade has been achieved through numerous strategies, most notably, overwhelming violence against rival cartels. A few years ago, his cartel was locked in a battle with the Los Zetas cartel, which at the time was considered to be the most brutal and technologically advanced in Mexico.
The cartel was infamous for setting new standards in torture methodologies and gore. Originally formed by former Mexican army commandos who chose to work for the Gulf Cartel, it was a few years ago among the most feared in the country. Its leader, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, currently serving time, was known for his sadistic torture and intimidation strategies. The following is an excerpt of a report by the Telegraph on this.
“[He brought] new levels of depravity, beheading and mutilating members of rival drug gangs as they battled for dominance of lucrative drug routes throughout Mexico and Central America. Victims were found with their hearts cut out, dismembered and hung from bridges, the letter Z carved into their bodies as a calling card. Treviño Morales himself was renowned for favouring a method known as “el guiso” (the stew) in which victims were doused with petrol and burned alive in oil barrels.”
And with such methods being considered as “regular” by members, a woman operative recently arrested in California referred to as ‘La Peque’ by Mexican tabloids confessed to having sexual intercourse with corpses while working for the Los Zetas cartel. Born in Hidalgo, she is said to have become pregnant at the age of 15, and got into prostitution to support herself and her child.
Her first role while working for the Los Zetas cartel was as a lookout for the authorities. Apparently, her shift ran eight hours straight, and if she failed, her punishment was one taco for a whole day. According to the Daily Mail, she got desensitized after witnessing numerous killings while working for the cartel.
Presently, the Los Zetas cartel has been reduced to a medium scale drug smuggling outfit, mostly because of the capture of its top leaders in recent years. According to a recent report, the two current top cartels in Mexico are El Chapo Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation cartel. According to Business Insider, the two are already clashing in areas such as Tijuana.
A police official who spoke to El Universal about the issue stated the following.
“[The Jalisco New Generation cartel] is wanting to enter La Paz, Ensenada, and Tijuana. All this derives from after they arrested El Chapo. [Nemesio Oseguera] El Mencho is returning to attack the plazas”.
Things stand to worsen in numerous other parts of the country under the control of El Chapo Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel, as he is currently in a prison in Juarez awaiting extradition to the United States. Authorities on both sides of the border are said to be preparing for his transfer.
[Photo by Marco Ugarte/AP Photo]