Justice in Mexico

A 7th Mass Grave Found In Durango Reveals A Possible Split Within the Sinaloa Cartel

In this picture taken Monday May 16, 2011, police tape hangs from a fence at the site where 87 bodies were found buried in a mass grave in Durango, Mexico. In the past two months, 219 bodies have been found in this city in at least 7 mass graves. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

05/27/11 – A total of 7 mass graves have been found in Durango in over a month since the first grave was discovered on April 11 in a town called Las Fuentes. On May 26, two more bodies, both male and unidentified, were found buried in the seventh grave in El Consuelo, which brings the overall total body count among all graves discovered in Durango to 223. So far 89 bodies have been found in Las Fuentes, 56 in San Vicente, 41 in Valle de Guadiana by a street called Jorge Rivero, 17 in Valle de Guadiana by a street called Valentín Trujillo, 13 in Provincial, 5 in Jardines de Durango, and the 2 male bodies found yesterday in El Consuelo. These graves have been found in close proximity to homes, schools, and stores, which has led some to question how local officials and nearby residents were unaware of such activity.

Until recently, the bodies were believed to be those of rivals cartel members, innocent victims, migrants, and police officers, among others. However, according to the Associated Press, a top official who remained anonymous revealed in an interview that most of the bodies in fact belong to groups who have tried to break off ties with the Sinaloa cartel. The Sinaloa cartel is known to be rather stable, infrequently having to deal with internal feuding or splintering, but the discovery of these graves is suggesting otherwise. According to the official, a Sinaloa cartel subgroup known as the “M’s,” who remain loyal to Sinaloa leader Joaquín Guzmán Loera, has been battling two rival groups who broke away from the Sinaloa cartel, the “Canelos” and the “Cabreras,” over control for smuggling routes in Durango. This emerging conflict is now thought to be one of the reasons why so many bodies have been found buried throughout the state in mass graves. Mexican news source Proceso reported that the Canelos and Cabreras both have “longstanding business ties” to Sinaloa bosses, but have recently decided to break away and join forces to take matters into their own hands.

Even though the Sinaloa cartel has a reputation for being relatively stable, this is not the first time it has dealt with internal divisions. Perhaps the most well known example involves the Beltrán Leyva brothers, who broke off to form their own cartel a few years back.


“Mexico mass graves of 219 signal major cartel rift.” Associated Press. May 22, 2011.

Corcoran, Patrick.  “Mexico Mass Graves: Evidence of Sinaloa Cartel Split?” Insight.  May 25, 2011.

“Termina excavación en séptima fosa; suman 223 cadáveres.” Milenio. May 26, 2011.

2 thoughts on “A 7th Mass Grave Found In Durango Reveals A Possible Split Within the Sinaloa Cartel”

  1. Pingback: 12 Bodies Discovered in Clandestine Graves « Justice in Mexico

  2. Pingback: Clandestine Grave Discovered in Durango: Nearly 300 Bodies found since April 2011 « Justice in Mexico

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