Sinaloa Cartel war causes northwestern Mexico crisis

Executions of multiple criminal figures pitting Ismael Mayo Zambada's forces against those led by Joaquin El Chapo Guzmán's sons have launched a struggle for control of the Sinaloa Cartel in northwest Mexico.

Sinaloa Cartel war causes northwestern Mexico crisis
Culiacán, when rival gangs banded together to prevent Ovidio Guzmán López's arrest. Archive files by Agencies

Several leaders of the cells fighting for control of the Sinaloa Cartel were killed violently. This pits Ismael Mayo Zambada's troops against those led by the sons of drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzmán and has started a war in northwest Mexico over who is in charge of the criminal group.

In the cities of Hermosillo, Caborca, San Luis Ro Colorado, Guaymas, Empalme, and Cajeme, all in Sonora, the bloody battle for the border area between Sonora and Arizona have left violent scenes like dismembered bodies left on public roads, panic shootings in school zones, and executions, as well as other people who were killed by accident.

In the last week, two children were killed in a war between former partners of the Pacific Cartel. One was playing in the backyard of his home in San Luis Ro Colorado, and the other was going to the corner store in his neighborhood in Cajeme, which is known as one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico.

A pregnant woman in Guaymas was also hurt by stray bullets, and more than 4 children were hurt in different parts of Sonora.

So far, local authorities haven't given out much information and haven't talked about how violence is getting worse in Sonora. The press conference that is usually held every Thursday in Sonora by the Secretary of Public Security and the Attorney General's Office was not held this week. No reason was given.

But despite this silence, evidence of the fight between the heirs of El Mayo and El Chapo was spread by the criminals themselves. They left 3 dismembered bodies behind a baseball stadium in Ciudad Obregon, with messages on banners and videos that were shared on social networks.

Tough strategy by the Sinaloa Cartel

The criminal groups spread the information themselves as a way to get the police to take action against one side or the other. It is trying to "heat the plaza" which means having fights on public roads, in school zones, or in crowded places to cause panic, even if some people get hurt as a result.

This happened this week in the port of Guaymas. A woman and a 3-year-old girl were hurt, and two people who were thought to be criminals were killed in an area with three schools. Shrapnel explosions could be heard inside the schools, so the kids had to hide under their desks while the teacher sang as loudly as she could to try to calm them down.

Due to its great location, Sonora, which has 1,200 kilometers of coastline and 588 kilometers of border with the United States in the direction of Arizona but is close to New Mexico and California, is one of the most popular places for bringing drugs, people, money, and weapons into Mexico. It has 588 kilometers of border with the United States.

Since the last arrest of Joaquin Guzmán Loera, when he said that the real leader of the criminal group was El Mayo Zambada because his brother Rey Zambada and his son El Vicentillo testified against him in the so-called "trial of the century" in New York, the Sinaloa Cartel cells have been fighting with each other.

To stop the violence, the Government of the Republic has sent more than 600 military agents to Sonora in the last few hours. These agents were able to stop a group of 14 hitmen with assault rifles who were traveling in a convoy.

The Sinaloa cartel as seen from the inside

The way it has been said that Joaquin Guzmán Loera, also known as "El Chapo" or Ismael Zambada Garcia, also known as "El Mayo" runs the criminal organization in Sinaloa is not true. Grupo Reforma was told by people inside the organization that there is no pyramidal structure. This means that there is no formal leader, not even below these other leaders who act as managers, which is a far cry from the truth.

The governments of Mexico and the United States have tried to show that the Sinaloa cartel is neither a single family nor a group. Instead, they are made up of several families who live on the same land and sometimes work together. So, in this plan, the "Cartel" is an organization made up of a group of illegal trafficking groups whose strategies, territories, and products are all the same.

There are criminal groups that have adapted to territories and forms for the production, commercialization, sale, and profit of illegal drugs. These groups have clear leaders, but they don't follow a totalitarian leader.

The organization is made up of different groups, such as those of Ismael Zambada Garcia, the Cázarez Salazar family, the Flores Cacho family, Rafael Caro Quintero's group, the Fuentes Villa family, the family of Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, the children of Joaquin Guzmán Loera, the family of Héctor Román Angulo, and the family of Dámaso López Núñez and personalities like Ismael Zambada Garcia, "El Mayo" and Rafael Caro Quintero stand out, but none of them have been chosen as a maximum leader yet.

When these groups work together, they put this organization in danger. As an example, the plan to keep the son of "El Chapo" Ovidio Guzmán López, from being caught was given. Each of these groups may have different ways of distributing drugs, moving them, and selling them, but they can work together to avoid conflict or get their jobs done.

This kind of organization, in which different groups work together, is common among the rest of the country's criminal groups, such as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Gulf Cartel, which all work the same way and have the same members. They are groups, most of them small, that reach agreements to rely on illicit businesses or to protect themselves, as happened in Culiacán when different gangs joined together to avoid the detention of Ovidio Guzmán López.