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Security forces on patrol in Sinaloa. Security forces on patrol in Sinaloa.

Fragmented cartel threatened by CJNG

Internal disputes could bring down Sinaloa Cartel, fragmented by El Chapo's extradition

Is the powerful Sinaloa Cartel about to be brought down by internal disputes, leaving the field open to the rival Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG)?

The drug gang built by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was built on kinship and friendship, but his third arrest and subsequent extradition to the United States have left the cartel fragmented and under threat.

Once the most powerful criminal organization in the world, said Antonio Mazzitelli of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is now faced with a power vacuum within, despite the presence of longtime leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

Guzmán’s organization rose to control drug trafficking in much of Mexico, including the states of Sonora, Nayarit, Colima, Durango, Baja California, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Zacatecas, Guerrero, Coahuila, Tlaxcala and Puebla.

The 2006 war on drugs only helped the organization reassert its control as rival groups were weakened.

Even after Guzmán’s second apprehension in 2014 he continued to wield control in the Sinaloa Cartel, which helped him accomplish his second prison break in July 2015.

But internal rivalry worsened after his final arrest in early 2016, a situation that has deteriorated since his extradition.

Several gang members are now vying for control, including Aureliano Guzmán, his brother; at least two of his sons; and Dámaso López, a close collaborator.

A clear sign of the rivalry, said security analyst Alejandro Hope, has been the increase in violent showdowns seen in the state of Sinaloa.

State deputy Attorney General Martín Robles Armenta said that at least 58 people were executed in the first 28 days of 2017, and the trend continued into February. During the first week of this month at least 12 people were killed in several incidents.

These internal confrontations come with the entry of Fausto Isidro Meza and his organization in the dispute. His gang, known as Los Mazatlecos, has brought together what was left of the Beltrán Leyva cartel and the CJNG, explained Hope.

For Mazzitelli, Zambada’s role will be fundamental because the younger generation of drug lords “is not willing to find solutions through negotiations and want to fight instead.”

“Due to internal weakness within the once great organization of the Sinaloa Cartel, the CJNG could become its successor,” he concluded.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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