Crime and Violence

Struggle over Cd. Juárez may have winner

US officials stated that the long-standing struggle between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Juárez Cartel (also known as the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization, after the group’s leader) may be tilting in favor of the former. The two drug trafficking organizations have fought one another for control of Ciudad Juárez and its valuable drug routes since 2008, when the Sinaloa Cartel began its efforts to wrest control away from the Juárez Cartel, which has historically dominated the region’s drug trade. The conflict between the two groups has been the cause of much of the violence in the border city, according to experts like Tony Payán, a professor at the University Texas at El Paso.

He says that while the Juárez Cartel is hardly done for, it is only a shadow of its former self. Andrea Simmons, spokesperson for the FBI in El Paso, said that recently most of the drug shipments coming through the city (from Ciudad Juárez) have belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel. “If you control the city, you control the drugs. And it appears to be Chapo.” Joaquín “El Chapo” (The Shorty) Guzman is the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel and was recently named by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s billionaires. Forbes estimates his net worth to be about one billion dollars. Experts believe that in recent years, the Sinaloa Cartel’s strategy has involved seizing control of the small, agricultural towns to the East of Ciudad Juárez. These towns are on the border and have traditionally been the center of operations for drug traffickers.

The two criminal organizations have also enlisted the help of smaller gangs, some of which operate on both sides of the border. Allies of the Sinaloa Cartel include the Killer Artists and the Mexicles. Allies of the Juárez Cartel include La Línea and Los Aztecas gang. These smaller groups work as hit men and retailers selling drugs on the streets. The Sinaloa Cartel’s success in driving out its rivals from their territory is the opposite of what has been occurring elsewhere. In the state of Tamaulipas, the Zetas’ efforts to drive out the Gulf Cartel from the latter’s territory appear to have failed.

US officials state their belief that the Sinaloa Cartel is successfully dominating the city’s drug trade is based on information from informants directly linked with Mexican drug trafficking organizations as well as other intelligence reports. These sources are confidential.


“Afirma EU que El Chapo controla Juárez.” El Ágora. Abril 9, 2010.

“The World’s Billionaires: #937 Joaquin Guzman Loera.” April 10, 2010.

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