Mexico: Zetas & Sinaloa Cartels Dominate Drug War

October 3, 2011 7:25 am 1 comment
Mexico: Zetas & Sinaloa Cartels Dominate Drug War

Pictures of top Mexican cartel members. (U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control)

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Five years after Mexican President Felipe Calderón launched his war against the country’s drug traffickers, two cartels have come to dominate Mexico’s drug markets and trafficking routes. According to Mexican federal authorities, the paramilitary-like Zetas Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel, run by the billionaire Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, are the country’s top drug organizations. The two groups have been able to attain this status thanks in part to their ruthless tactics — including murders and kidnappings — but also because the Mexican government has killed and captured leaders of many other cartels, allowing for the Zetas and Sinaloa cartels to expand territory and business opportunities. The two organizations now appear to be battling one another to become the premier cartel in Mexico. In September, the Sinaloa cartel allegedly left 35 bound, tortured bodies in the resort city of Veracruz and in May more than two dozen people, most of them Zetas, were killed after attempting to infiltrate the Sinaloa cartel’s territory in the Pacific Coast state of Nayarit. If neither group can attain full control of the drug trade, some experts claim that the ensuing violence could lead to the demise of both groups — and the end of Mexico’s drug war. “The question is whether the Sinaloa cartel and Zetas are going to break at some point or not,” said drug trade and security expert Jorge Chabat. “Right now they are very strong, but if in two or three years these cartels are pulverized, they may say that (the drug war) was a success.”

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