Schaumburg, IL—The Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has a lot of bragging to do with the recent capture of Miguel Angel Trevino aka Z-40, the leader of the Mexican Drug Cartel known as Los Zetas.
The arrest of the Z-40 is a great accomplishment for Mexico. Mexico’s Department of Interior leader Miguel Angel Osorio Chong is proud to say that it was all thanks to Mexican security forces and that the US had nothing to do with it. During several press conferences, Department of Interior Osorio Chong and President Peña Nieto, made statements that the US was only notified hours after the arrest and that the arrest was the result of intelligence work by Mexican security forces.
While this is a significant blow to the Los Zetas Cartel, the Sinaloan Cartel appears to be gaining control of other parts of the country, including the region where Z-40 was captured. There is certain distrust that all the work underway maybe focused on reinforcing the Cartel de Sinaloa (Sinaloan Cartel) being led by Joaquin Guzman Loera aka “El Chapo Guzman” and that cartel maybe the one behind the intelligence to capture and debilitate the rival cartels.
It is clear that a blow to the rival cartels produces opportunity to the Sinaloan Cartel. It does appear that the Mexican authorities are going full force against all the cartels but so far the battle for Michoacán does not include the Sinaloa Cartel, even when the Caballeros Templarios Cartel have spent years and millions of dollars fighting against Los Zetas in partnership with the Sinaloan Cartel.
The gun battles between criminals and security forces in Michoacán are violent and directed against the security forces by using ambush tactics. The techniques were common in the region during the Mexican Revolution but have not been seen until now. The numbers of dead from the criminal organizations has not been officially confirmed. It appears that nobody from the press has seen any bodies in the local morgues; only the ones from the government fallen have been confirmed.
The ambush tactics and confrontations are about 7 at this point in time. On a good note, Wednesday this week there were no shootouts registered but the governor from the state of Michoacan Jesus Reyna gave a press conference and assured the media and the people that the bloody confrontation are the result of the Templarios loosing control but also stated that many parts of the state remain under the control of the criminal organizations.
The locations where the ambushes are taking place also vary from the highly traveled highways such as Autopista Siglo 21 to smaller roads. The weapons are all high caliber weapons used during war.
The Sinaloan Cartel discusses little as to the assistance to combat the intense gun battles in Michoacán. It is clear that the Sinaloan Cartel is leaving the Templarios to fight the government on their own. The situation also confirms that their partnership was for the purpose of eliminating Los Zetas from Michoacán.
The Caballeros Templarios are also attacking the Communitarian Police forces where they find them including on the steps of a government building in Los Reyes where a few of them died after being sprayed by AR- 15 and AK-47 attack by the Caballeros Templarios. This is not going to help the Caballeros as community support is beginning to go down, especially in the indigenous communities in Michoacán.
On another front, the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion is another issue the Templarios are facing. On the border of Jalisco and Michoacán the situation is tense. Towns such as Mazamilta, Valle de Juarez, and Tamazula de Gordiano, all in the state of Jalisco, are all areas under the control of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion. As of this week their criminal groups are receiving reinforcement even after the capture of their lider Victor Hugo Delgado Renteria to ensure that the Templarios don’t move in to their territory.
In Face Book, the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion posted several messages saying that the people should not worry that they have the area under control and will not allow intrusions from the Templarios. The chats from locals and the cartels go back and forth on several subjects and in one posting the cartel states that they are working with the local governments to ensure the safety of the community (for security reasons the name of this Face Book group is omitted from this article).
As of this moment, it appears that the Caballeros Templarios are fighting on their own and without the assistance of the Sinaloan Cartel. While Templarios and Nueva Generacion are enemies, Sinaloa would probably give support to Nueva Generacion before they go out and support Templarios. It is a business decision cartels make on a regular basis. This one appears to be going exactly like that where the Sinaloan Cartel would be best served by letting Templarios go down.
As the result, this again raises the suspicion that Sinaloa may actually benefit if the Caballeros Templarios lose Michoacán or become debilitated by the security forces. However, the battle for Michoacán will not be an easy one, since the Caballeros Templarios have key territory under their complete control and enjoy a lot of social support.
This week, Janet Napolitano and Miguel Angel Osorio Chong signed an agreement in which both countries will be able to patrol the border and be able to perform a lot more joint operations. There are a number of issues that were not clear. For example, of how much sharing and what jurisdiction supersedes the other.
Additionally, one of the issues is how the two governments will deal with abuses of power or excessive use of force, which happens on both sides of the border and lastly and perhaps the most important issue is corruption. During the war against the Italian Mafias, the FBI was able to get jurisdictional powers in Italy to make arrests and the same was available to Italian forces.
A great credit goes out to the Mexican authorities for the arrests of two big targets in the Mexican underworld.
On a related issue, the situation in Sinaloa is beginning to become highly explosive as killings are becoming a daily occurrence including dragging people until they die from the back of a pick up. Los Zetas Cartel with the assistance of the other splinter cartels are beginning to increase their pressures to gain control of the local operational base of Sinaloa. It is possible that as violence increases in the Sinaloan Cartel’s base, the security forces will also assault Chapo’s enemies just like in Michoacán.
So far, it appears the Sinaloa Cartel is not under attack and the consolidation for territory simply becomes a great opportunity for the Sinaloan Cartel.
The first 90 days following the arrest of the Z-40 will give everyone a good idea of who is going to be winning in the drug war and consolidation of powers by the drug cartels.
As of now, El Chapo Guzman is winning.