Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has done a great job of growing the influence of his cartel over the years, with its operations extending to overseas markets such as Europe and the Philippines. But since he’s currently in prison, he has left a power vacuum that is problematic to fill. This has made rival cartels bolder in attempts to take over territories controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel, his organization.
And just recently, one of the fastest growing drug trafficking outfits in Mexico, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), kidnapped one of El Chapo Guzman’s son, Jesus Alfredo Guzman. The move was believed to have been undertaken as a warning to the Sinaloa Cartel’s leadership, and a way to demonstrate that the CJNG had the means to intimidate the top brass.
Although Alfredo was released about a week after the kidnapping, it has been speculated that he was used as a bargaining chip to gain more narco-trafficking routes to the United States. The following is an excerpt on this from Fox News.
“Seven gunmen swept into La Leche restaurant in Puerto Vallarta’s hotel district early Monday, taking the 16 people gathered there by surprise. Without firing a shot, they marched six men out.
“In a flash, 29-year-old Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar became a valuable potential bargaining chip — or a high-profile casualty — in the cartel turf battles that are wreaking havoc in large swaths of Mexico. Analysts say Jalisco New Generation could try to use him as leverage to win territory or other gains from what has been the country’s dominant gang.”
And now, just a month after the incident, the two most dominant cartels in Mexico, The Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa cartel are reported to be entangled in a war to dominate the American heroin market.
They have also been involved in violent conflicts in narco-trafficking corridors in Mexico such as Colima, Michoacan, Baja California Sur, and Baja California. According to Russell K. Baer, spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the two have recently conflicted over smuggling routes and areas of influence within the United States.
One of the main indicators of the move to increase heroin supplies in the US is the recent drug bust that led to the discovery of a drug trafficking ring that moved the drug from Mexico to the East Coast via Arizona. The following is an excerpt of the report by Insight Crime on this.
“On September 23, law enforcement agencies in New York and Massachusetts announced a major bust of a nationwide heroin trafficking ring that allegedly moved drugs from Mexico to Arizona and on to East Coast markets. The same day, the Treasury Department blacklisted several individuals linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, including Eliseo Imperial Castro, the nephew of Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada Garcia.”
The number of heroin seizures has also gone up, indicating a shift in the market towards heroin. The drug has for a long time has been supplied to the East Coast by the Colombians. But according to the report, the Colombians are slowly losing their influence in the heroin trade game as they no longer control the streets. However, they are still the main suppliers of cocaine to the Mexicans who in turn have extensive drug distribution networks in America.
In other news, El Chapo Guzman’s sons are believed to have been behind a recent attack on a military convoy. The incident happened in Culiacan, Sinaloa, El Chapo Guzman’s territory, and was apparently to rescue one of the Sinaloa cartel’s operatives who was being escorted by the authorities. The convoy was apparently attacked using high powered guns and grenades leading to the death of five soldiers; while 10 ten others were wounded.
The suspect, Julio Oscar Ortiz Vega was said to have been rescued. He is believed to be a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel. According to the Defense Department, the man had been picked up by the soldiers after a shootout in Badiraguato. He was apprehended while his accomplices fled.
[Featured Photo by AP Photo/Marco Ugarte]