Where Mexico’s El Chapo Guzman Beats El Mencho, The Reportedly Most Powerful Cartel Leader [Opinion]

El Chapo Guzman and El Mencho are two drug lords who have been making headlines in relation to Mexico’s cartel underworld. Both came from humble backgrounds and rose to power through sheer ruthlessness and determination. Currently rumored to be the most powerful drug lord in Mexico, El Mencho has significant experience as a kingpin.

His cartel, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), is said to be extremely violent, and is currently fighting El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel on various fronts, including Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, which are valuable drug smuggling corridors into the United States.

Their Differences

El Chapo’s Influence

El Chapo is considered by many close to him to be highly intelligent, an important virtue to possess in leading the biggest drug cartel in the world. In his prime, he was able to generally maintain order in the highly volatile Mexican drug gang scene. This was by making pacts with notable cartel leaders and collaborating with high level authorities.

This harmonious formula greatly reduced conflicts in the country, and the murder rate went down. The Zetas, for example, an ultra-violent group made up of former law enforcement commandoes spread terror in the country, but was dismantled through alliances made by Chapo, and efforts by law enforcement.

According to a report by the America’s Quarterly Organization,“The number of murders decreased 13 percent between 2012 and 2013, and the homicide rate per 100,000 people declined from 22 to 19.”

There was also a decrease in organized crime deaths, down to 1,956 in the 2014 second quarter from a 2011 peak of 4,587. El Chapo’s influence is said to have brought about an uneasy peace in the country in the two years.


El Mencho’s Leadership

Although El Mencho is currently hailed as the most “powerful” drug lord in Mexico, he is widely considered to be hot-headed and has not made major alliances with other cartels. As opposed to Guzman, his cartel, the CJNG, rarely makes deals with major gangs and has in the recent past single-handedly waged war against law enforcement.

In 2015, it brought down a police helicopter using RPGs, killing five officers. That said, Mencho reportedly has a vast number of corrupt Mexican officials on his payroll who offer him vital information on major government plans against his cartel.

Presently, drug cartel violence in Mexico is at its peak, but El Mencho, the alleged most powerful cartel leader, has not shown the ability to take control of the situation. The violence is expected to continue for years to come until a dominant super cartel emerges.


[Featured Image by Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Getty Images]