Confrontation over Poppy Eradication in Guerrero Highlights Shifting Trends in Drug Production

Photo: Jorge Lezama, Cuartoscuro
Photo: Jorge Lezama, Cuartoscuro

02/05/2021 (written by rramos) – A hostile encounter between opium poppy farmers and military personnel in the southern state of Guerrero illustrates the increasingly difficult plight of Mexico’s rural poppy growers, a situation that reflects broader shifts in the nature of drug production in the country. 

Farmers Resist Eradicators to Defend Crops

The confrontation took place on the morning of January 24 in the town of San Miguel Totolapan, where a group of roughly 200 farmers gathered in an attempt to thwart a forced eradication operation being conducted by the Army. Equipped with clubs and sticks, the farmers tried to block the path of troops moving towards fields of opium poppy they had been cultivating. Shortly after the soldiers came upon the farmers’ blockade, a brawl involving pushing and shoving between the two groups ensued. In a phone interview with Sin Embargo, one of the farmers stated that some of the troops, estimated to number around 150, aimed their firearms at the growers, ultimately forcing them to desist and allow the soldiers to proceed toward the poppy fields. The farmer went on to claim that peasants in the area were motivated to challenge the troops because in the days preceding the January 24 encounter, the Army had destroyed 50 hectares of poppy plants that local residents had been cultivating across seven rural communities in the San Miguel Totolapan municipality.

Clashes between poppy growers and security forces looking to carry out crop eradication operations are not without precedent. Residents in poppy-producing areas, which are largely impoverished and marginalized, often feel compelled to defend poppy fields from destruction by authorities because these represent the only meaningful source of income for their families. However, disputes between poppy farmers and government forces appear to be occurring more regularly in Guerrero, which has long been an important hub of poppy cultivation in Mexico. Last year, farmers in the town of Heliodoro Castillo attacked Army helicopters with rocks and various types of projectiles in an attempt to ward off aerial fumigation of poppy fields in the area. In December 2020, poppy growers managed to drive away government eradicators following a tense standoff in San Miguel Totolapan, the same municipality in which the January 24 confrontation would take place only a month later.

Worsening Situation for Opium Poppy-Growing Communities

The growing number of incidents in which farmers have organized themselves to disrupt eradication efforts may be an indication of the increasing desperation felt by poppy-growing communities in the wake of deteriorating economic conditions. In particular, regions of Guerrero that have relied on poppy cultivation have been severely impacted by a dramatic collapse in the price of opium gum, which is extracted from poppy plants to be used in the production of heroin. Throughout the state, farmers have been forced to find other sources of income as earnings from growing poppy have dried up. According to the New York Times, the price of opium gum in Mexico has plunged rapidly, falling from a peak of up to $1,300 per kilo in 2017 to roughly $110 by mid-2019. This has set off a widespread exodus from rural towns and villages in Guerrero, with large numbers of farmers worried that the precipitous drop in the value of opium gum will push them further into poverty and leave them with no means to earn a sufficient living.

Criminal Focus Shifting in Favor of Synthetic Drugs

The significant decline in the price of opium gum has been attributed to drug trafficking organizations shifting their attention away from traditional, plant-based drugs like heroin, and toward synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl. Analysts have argued that this growing preference is due partly to the belief that synthetic drugs are considerably cheaper and less time-consuming to produce compared to plant-based drugs. In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Cecilia Farfán-Méndez, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, explains that the production of heroin depends on labor-intensive and expensive tasks that take place over prolonged periods of time, such as tending to large fields of poppy plants and processing opium gum. In contrast, synthetic drugs like fentanyl can be manufactured much more rapidly in clandestine labs because their production “doesn’t have to rely on acreage, farm laborers, pests, and weather,” all of which are critical factors in producing heroin. Along with reducing operational costs, a further advantage of fentanyl for drug trafficking organizations is its ability to generate larger profits, as the drug is significantly more potent than heroin, even in small quantities. 

This new emphasis on synthetic drugs and decreased interest in heroin seem to be reflected not only in falling prices for opium gum, but also in remarkable fluctuations in the levels of poppy cultivation in Mexico. Data from the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) showe that opium poppy cultivation in Mexico had skyrocketed from roughly 10,500 hectares (ha) to over 44,100 ha in the five-year period between 2012 and 2017. By 2018, however, poppy levels began to drop back down as fentanyl surged in popularity among drug traffickers and users, with the ONDCP estimating in July 2020 that poppy cultivation had fallen to 30,400 ha by 2019. If this downward trend continues, poppy farmers in Mexico may find themselves under greater financial strain, heightening the risk of more clashes with authorities over eradication as growers strive to preserve their dwindling source of livelihood.

Sources

LeCour Grandmaison, Romain, Morris, Nathaniel, & Smith, Benjamin T. “The U.S. Fentanyl Boom and the Mexican Opium Crisis.” Wilson Center and Justice in Mexico. February 2019.

“EU: la amapola y heroína de México, aún en niveles récord. ” Milenio. June 15, 2019. 

Semple, Kirk. “El desplome del opio mexicano empuja a los campesinos de amapola a migrar.” New York Times. July 9, 2019. 

Rivera, Guillermo & Tinoco, Adrián. “De opulencia a carencia, caída en precio de amapola empobrece a familias en Guerrero.” Televisa. November 13, 2019. 

Villegas Moreno, Carmen Leticia. “Lanzan cohetes a helicópteros del Ejército por fumigar amapola.” Debate. January 24, 2020. 

Cuvillier, Laurence & Comin, Mathieu. “En México, el fentanilo acelera el éxodo rural de los cultivadores de amapola.” France 24. April 21, 2020. 

Davis, Kristina. “What does the future hold for Mexico’s opium poppy farmers?” San Diego Union-Tribune. July 3, 2020. 

Esposito, Anthony & Cortés Fernández, Raúl. “Cultivo de amapola cae en México, mantiene producción droga sintética : EEUU.” Reuters. July 31, 2020. 

De Dios Palma, Arturo. “Amagan con impedir destrucción de amapola en Guerrero.” El Universal. October 8, 2020. 

Agustín Esteban, Rogelio. “‘Es lo único que tenemos’: campesinos impiden destrucción de plantíos de amapola.” Milenio. December 6, 2020. 

“Cárteles apuestan por fentanilo por ser más potente que la heroína y más fácil de producir.” Aristegui Noticias. December 10, 2020. 

Cervantes, Zacarías. “Guerrero: La caída de precios de la amapola y destrucción dejan a productores al filo del hambre.” Sin Embargo. January 2, 2021. 

De Dios Palma, Arturo. “Se enfrentan amapoleros y militares por destrucción de cultivos en Guerrero.” El Universal. January 25, 2021. 

Ocampo Torres, Lenin & Cervantes, Zacarías. “VIDEO: Campesinos confrontan a militares para evitar destrucción de plantíos de amapola en Guerrero.” Sin Embargo. January 25, 2021.

AMLO’s Decree Further Militarizes the Public Security Strategy

AMLO rides in ceremony for National Guard inauguration
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the inauguration of the National Guard in 2019. Photo: Cuartoscuro.

06/12/2020 (written by kheinle) – President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took steps to further institutionalize the military in addressing public safety. On May 11, the president signed an executive decree that expands the armed forces’ involvement in internal affairs nationwide until March 2024 or until the National Guard can assume the responsibilities.

The decree is officially published as, “AGREEMENT that makes the Armed Forces permanently available to fulfill public security duties in an extraordinary, regulated, fiscally managed, subordinate, and complementary manner.” Additional responsibilities include supporting investigations, “detaining suspects, securing crime scenes, and carrying out arrest warrants,” writes the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). Despite assuming more domestic duties, however, the decree does not expand oversight on the military. Soldiers will continue to be held to their own internal controls instead of being accountable to civilian institutions.

Why the Increase in Military Presence?

The military is being called into action to curb the continuing rise in crime and violence, which is currently at an all-time high. Mexico’s most violent year on record was 2019 with 35,588 homicides, according to the National System of Public Security (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública, SNSP). This year is on track to be even higher. There were also more homicides in March 2020 than any other month under the López Obrador Administration (2,616 cases of intentional homicide and 3,000 victims), prompting the president to act.

President López Obrador assigned the National Guard to temper migration flows at the country’s northern and southern borders. Photo: Notimex.

The military’s presence will complement the work of the National Guard, which has arguably not evolved into the force that the president had hoped since it launched in July 2019. President López Obrador created the unit, which now has more than 100,000 troops enlisted, to combat the country’s ongoing challenges with organized crime and violence. Yet the Guard’s responsibilities in public security have adapted considerably since the outset. During their first year on the ground, National Guard troops were largely charged with aiding Mexico’s response to migration influxes at the country’s northern and southern borders and more recently with supporting efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, commented, “The fact is the National Guard is simply an insufficient response to the violence in Mexico. This was always going to be the case,” he continued, “but with all of the extra responsibilities the Guard took on related to forced migration, there are extreme shortages in the workforce.

The president’s newly signed decree hopes to address the rise in violence by bringing in the military to alleviate some of the responsibility of the National Guard until that force is fully capable of handling the task.   

Human Rights Concerns

The military’s presence in domestic affairs continues to raise red flags given the institution’s record with violating human rights. Said Santiago Aguirre, the director of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center in Mexico City, “In effect, the army and navy are going to be handling police duties until 2024. [Both] have a long history of not being accountable, especially in cases of serious human rights violations.”

Photo: Guardia Nacional.

Concern over the National Guard’s responsibility in violating human rights also persists. The Guard was created as an institution with more accountability to civilian authority. When Congress approved the force in 2019, it instituted constitutional changes that established human rights protocols and protections overseeing the unit. Nevertheless, the National Guard is arguably a militarized force, much to the concern of human rights organizations.  

Maureen Meyer of the Washington Office on Latin America highlights several ways in which this is so. First, over 75% of the National Guard is composed of soldiers, according to a Mexican government report. This is likely impacted by the fact that National Guard recruitment centers are all located on military bases. Second, the leader of the National Guard has roots in the military as a former member of the armed forces and as a retired general. Finally, the National Guard’s funding and equipment comes from the military.

In her article, Meyer recognizes that the National Guard does indeed have fewer cases of human rights violations documented against it as compared to the military, but it still has some. “Between July and November 2019, the CNDH [National Human Rights Commission, Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos] reported receiving 32 complaints of human rights violations committed by members of the National Guard, including accusations of migrant abuse, torture, and arbitrary detention,” she wrote. Such complaints have continued into the new year.

With a more militarized National Guard and the president’s decree to put the military back on the streets, it will be important to monitor potential rises in human rights violations.

Sources:

Daly, Catherine et al. “Armed with Impunity: Curbing Military Human Rights Abuses in Mexico.” Justice in Mexico. July 2012.

“AMLO deploys National Guard amidst controversy.” Justice in Mexico. July 24, 2019.

Gobierno de México. “Informe de seguridad, Guardia Nacional y combate a la delincuencia organizada.” YouTube. April 24, 2020.

Agren, David. “López Obrador accused of militarizing Mexico with new security decree.” The Guardian. May 11, 2020.

Diario Oficial de la Federación. “ACUERDO por el que se dispone de la Fuerza Armada permanente para llevar a cabo tareas de seguridad pública de manera extraordinaria, regulada, fiscalizada, subordinada y complementaria.” Secretaría de Gobernación. May 11, 2020.

Rivers, Matt and Jackie Castillo. “Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordena que los militares vuelvan a las calles para combatir la creciente violencia.” CNN Español. May 12, 2020.

Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública. “Incidencia delictiva.” Goberino de México. May 20, 2020.

“Versión estenográfica de la conferencia de prensa matutina del presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador.” Sitio Oficial de Andrés Manuel López Obrador. May 20, 2020.

Meyer, Maureen. “One Year After National Guard’s Creation, Mexico is Far from Demilitarizing Public Security.” Washington Office on Latin America. May 26, 2020.

Centro Nacional de Información. “Incidencia Delictiva del Fuero Común 2020.” Secretaría de Seguridad y Protección Ciudadana, Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública. May 2020.

Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública. “Víctimas y unidades robabas, nueva metodología.” Gobierno de México. Last accessed June 12, 2020.

Supreme Court determines Law on Internal Security unconstitutional

Supreme Court building

Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. Source: Wikipedia.

12/30/18 (written by kheinle) — Mexico’s Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia Nacional, SCJN) made a significant decision in November regarding the proposed Law on Internal Security (Ley de Seguridad Interior). The law was meant to address Mexico’s notoriously high levels of crime and violence. It sought to expand safety on the domestic front, minimize threats towards internal security, and increase the role of the military in domestic affairs. The latter includes the military’s capacity to gather intelligence and evidence in proposed crimes.

On November 15, 2018, however, the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional, arguing that it went against both the Mexican Constitution and international treaties to which Mexico is a signatory. The Court also said that Mexico’s Congress, which had approved the law, should not legislate on matters of internal security. When the draft law was published in December 2017, Congress was controlled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI), the party of then-President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). On December 1, 2018, the new government took over under now-President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of the National Regeneration Movement (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, MORENA) took office.

Critics of the Law on Internal Security

Despite its Congressional support, the law received pushback from civilian institutions and human rights activists. The Washington Office on Latin America shared its concern in a communication just weeks before the Supreme Court’s decision. WOLA noted the control it would have given the military in overseeing civilian authorities in domestic affairs, as well as its expanded role in investigations. “Paired with the absence of effective controls and accountability mechanisms to oversee those actions, this will limit the power of authorities within the civilian justice system, resulting in impunity,” WOLA stated. The law also drew ire from the public. A Change.org petition was submitted a month after the draft law was initially published with over 467,000 signatures urging the Mexican government to reject the law. WOLA summarized that the five main reasons for the public’s rebuke included:

  1. “Lack of accountability mechanisms and civilian oversight;
  2. Expanding the military’s jurisdiction over civilians;
  3. Insufficient regulation of the military’s use of force;
  4. Lack of transparency in how the Internal Security Law will be implemented; [and]
  5. The Internal Security Law disincentives police reform.”

The high court’s decision is one that Esmeralda Arosema de Troitiño, the spokesperson for Mexico’s Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, CIDH), argued set a precedent for President López Obrador’s incoming government. The Court’s decision “constitutes an indispensable judicial precedent as the base for the new government to present a concrete plan to gradually draw down military in public security matters…,” she said.

The developments with the Law on Internal Security paralleled President López Obrador’s ongoing push for a National Guard, which has also raised concerns about human rights and public safety.

Sources:

Cámara de Deputados del H. Congreso de la Unión. “Ley de Seguridad Interior.” Diario Oficial de la Federación. December 21, 2017. PDF.

Suarez-Enriquez, Ximena and Maureen Meyer. “Multiple Sectors Push Back Against the Implementation of Mexico’s New Internal Security Law.” WOLA. January 25, 2018.

Joint Statement. “International Observatory on Mexico: The Decision of Mexico’s Supreme Court on the Internal Security Law Will Set a Fundamental Precedent on Militarization in the Country and in the Region.” Washington Office on Latin America. November 2, 2018. 

Ferri, Pablo. “La justicia mexicana tumba la ley del gobierno saliente que perpetúa el papel policial del Ejército.” El País. November 16, 2018.

Roldán, Mariluz. “CIDH celebra invalidación de Ley de Seguridad Interior.” El Universal. November 26, 2018.

“Critics voice concerns over Mexico’s proposed National Guard.” Justice in Mexico. December 24, 2018.

Critics voice concerns over Mexico’s proposed National Guard

infographic, structure / outline of National Guard

Representative Mario Delgado posted this infographic about the National Guard following the sub-committee’s approval. Source: Mario Delgado, Twitter.

12/24/18 (written by kheinle) — The plan to create a National Guard (Guardia Nacional) in Mexico advanced through the first round of congressional approval. On December 20, 2018, the Chamber of Deputies’ (la Cámara de Diputados) Committee on Constitutional Affairs (la Comisión de Puntos Constitucionales) approved the bill 18 votes in favor to 6 against. If full Congress approves, the National Guard would be a 50,000-person armed force created from the ranks of the Mexican military and police. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) proposed the force to address the seriously high levels of crime and violence in Mexico.

The bill would require amending 13 articles of the Mexican Constitution, some of which seek to mitigate concerns of human rights and civilian oversight. As Reuters reported, the constitutional changes “would mean that national guard members receive human rights training, are tried by civil courts and will not be able to move detainees to military institutions.” Initially, the National Guard was also going to be overseen by the Secretary of National Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, SEDENA). The bill approved in the Chamber of Deputies’ sub-committee, however, moved much of this control to the Secretary of Security and Civilian Protection (Secretaría de Seguridad y Protección Ciudana, SSPC). As the Latin America News Dispatch summarized, “While the unit would still be trained militarily, as was originally proposed, jurisdiction would pass to civilian authorities after five years, according to Representative Mario Delgado.” It continued, “The Senate will also be given the power to dissolve the new guard.”

Critics Speak Up

Despite these changes, critics have widely condemned the proposal. Causa en Común, a collective of more than 500 civil society organizations and businesses, among others, delivered a petition to Congress in November 2018 urging their elected officials to reject AMLO’s proposition. For her part, the director of the organization México Evalúa, Edna Jaime, criticized the National Guard in a November 2018 article titled, “No es más de lo mismo, es algo peor” (“It’s not more of the same; it’s worse”). Mexico’s crime and violence, she wrote, is associated with the dysfunctional State, the void of effective governing mechanisms, and a weak institution. The solution “is improving the capacity of the State” and focusing resources at the local levels, Jaime argued. “World peace is sustainable in local-level processes that operate with good mechanisms of global governance.”

DF Mayor speaking at event

Mexico City Mayor Sheinbaum turned down the idea of the National Guard in Mexico City. Source: Vanguardia.

Elected officials also voiced their concern. Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum publicly announced that the National Guard would not be needed in the capital. The police are capable of delivering, she said, adding that the federal and local police forces would work closely together. Congresswoman Lucia Rojas also argued that the National Guard would only deepen the military-focused strategy already in Mexico. “And it’s become clear in the last 12 years,” she said, “that there’s absolutely no evidence that having the army on the streets helps to reduce the violence.” The military’s presence in Mexico’s domestic affairs has also led to an increase in the number of human rights violations perpetrated by members of the military against civilians, an issue that Justice in Mexico explored in a 2012 special report.

At the international level, organizations like the United Nations (UN), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have expressed concern, too. Jan Jarab of the UN’s Office on Human Rights in Mexico sent a letter to Congress following the Chamber of Deputies’ sub-committee vote. Approval of the bill, he wrote, “would establish at the constitutional level this paradigm of military involvement in security issues, the same one that has contributed to the deterioration of human rights in Mexico.” Jarab continued, “[It] would threaten the possibility of having a capable civil body in the future that could exercise public security in strict accordance with international human rights standards.”

AMLO is not the first Mexican president to pursue the idea of a National Guard. His predecessor, President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018), initially called for a 40,000-person force that was eventually scaled down to 5,000. AMLO’s current bill will soon be presented to the full Chamber of Deputies for consideration.

Sources:

Daly, Catherine et al. “Armed with Impunity: Curbing Military Human Rights Abuses in Mexico.” Justice in Mexico. July 2012.

June S. Beittel, “Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations,” Congressional Research Service, July 3, 2018.

“Mexican president-elect’s party presents national guard plan.” Reuters. November 20, 2018.

Roldán, Maríhiz. “Más de 500 organizaciones manifestan su rechazo a la Guardia Nacional.” El Universal. November 20, 2018.

Angel, Arturo. “Los cambios clave en la propuesta de Guardia Nacional que fue aprobado en comisiones.” Animal Político. December 20, 2018.

Jiménez, Horacio and Alejandra Canchola. “Guardia Nacional arrancaría con mando militar y Senado la podría disolver: Delgado.” El Universal. December 20, 2018.

“Asylum seekers will be sent back to wait in Mexico.” Latin America News Dispatch. December 21, 2018.

“Diputados de México aprueban en comisiones la nueva Guardia Nacional.” RT. December 21, 2018.

Magallán, Antonio. “Sheimbaum se revela contra la Guardia Nacional de AMLO; asegura bastará con la Policía Federal y municipal.” Vanguardia. December 21, 2018.

Sánchez, Citlal Giles. “Preocupa a represenante de la ONU en México creación de la Guardia Nacional.” La Jornada Guerrero. December 22, 2018.

Attack on Military Convoy Leaves Six Dead in Sinaloa

Military vehicle set to fire by organized crime.

Military vehicle set on fire during organized crime attack, September 30th. Source: Negocios 360

10/11/2016 (written by lcalderon) — During the dawn hours of September 30th, a military convoy was ambushed by a heavily armed group of organized crime members. The convoy was in charge of transporting Julio Oscar Ortiz Vega, a.k.a. “El Kevin”,  from a small town in Badiraguato to Culiacán, both in Sinaloa, Mexico. “El Kevin” was an organized crime member and an alleged cousin of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who was injured during an earlier shootout between drug cartels and the military in Badiraguato. After arresting him, military personnel provided medical assistance and decided to take him to a hospital in Culiacán, the capital city of the state of Sinaloa. The transfer was planned during the middle of the night to assure the detainee’s security.

The military escort was taken by surprise around 3:00 am on the international highway, Mexico 15, by a large group of criminals who were awaiting them with large caliber arms, grenades, and other explosives. During the confrontation, four military men died at the location and 11 were severely injured, including the paramedic who was in charge of assisting “El Kevin” in the ambulance. The criminals were successful in their mission and managed to take the ambulance with “El Kevin” inside. The injured individuals had to wait for almost an hour for aid and were then relocated to different hospitals in the state. Two of the survivors died later that day in the hospital.

After the attack, the Secretary of National Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, SEDENA) launched a major operation in Culiacán to capture the attackers. The operation led to the securing of large caliber arms, ammunitions, tactical suits, federal police badges, bulletproof vests, and other equipment linked to the organized crime unit but no arrest directly related to the attack.

SFEAFE

Major Alfonso Duarte Mujica, 9th Military Zone in Sinaloa declared that the ambush was linked to Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s sons, Ivan and Alfredo Guzmán. Source: Sinaloa en Linea

Initially, Alfonso Duarte Mujica, Major of the 9th Military Zone in Sinaloa declared that the ambush was linked to Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s sons Ivan and Alfredo Guzmán, who are now suspects of being fighting for control of the Sinaloa cartel. However, the accused went to their father’s lawyer, José Refugio Rodríguez to declare that they were not involved with the attack and requested an accurate and thorough investigation of the events. According to Milenio, the brothers declared “If we didn’t do it for our father, much less would we do it now!” when responding to the accusations.

Duarte Mujica’s allegations became even stronger when police started to believe that “El Kevin” was a cover up for the person who was in the ambulance that night. Sinaloa police started to suspect that the actual person in that ambulance was Aureliano Guzmán Loera “El Guano,” “El Chapo” Guzmán’s brother. Later, Mexico’s General Attorney’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República) and SEDENA released pictures of “El Kevin” before his rescue. In addition, media sources such as Mexico Rojo discarded the idea that “El Guano” was in that ambulance on September 30th.

Although not proven, Duarte Mujica’s allegations were not completely unreasonable. Badiraguato is a region in the Mexican state of Sinaloa that saw the birth of Mexico’s most famous drug kingpin: Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Guzmán was one of the founders of the strongest drug cartel –until recently- in Mexico, with its headquarters in Culiacán, Sinaloa. After the last arrest of “El Chapo” Guzmán, Sinaloa has become a warzone between his sons Iván and Alfredo Guzmán Salazar defending what is left of the Sinaloa cartel against their cousin Alfredo Beltrán Guzmán “El Mochomito” on the side of the Beltran Leyva cartel. The territorial dispute between the two cartels has unleashed a spike of violence in Sinaloa, especially in Culiacán.

Sources:

Asesinan a militares durante brutal tiroteo en Culiacán.” El Debate. September 30, 2016.

Ataque a militares en Sinaloa deja al menos 4 muertos.” Excelsior. September 30, 2016.

Flores, Raúl. Ligan a primo de ‘El Chapo’ a ataque contra militares en Sinaloa.” Excelsior. September 30, 2016.

Suman 5 militares muertos en emboscada en Sinaloa.” SDP Noticias. September 30, 2016. 

Hijos de ‘El Chapo’ niegan ataque a militares.” Mundo Hispanico. October 1, 2016.

Los hijos de “El Chapo” Guzmán sospechosos por emboscada a militares que dejó cinco muertos y 11 heridos en México.” BBC Mundo. October 1, 2016.

Sánchez, Jesús Alejandro. “Abogados: Hijos de “El Chapo” se deslindan de ataque de militares en Sinaloa.” Milenio.  October 1, 2016.

Él fue rescatado en emboscada a militares.” El Debate. October 3, 2016.

La Familia del Chapo le preocupa cacería militar en su contra.” Mexico Rojo. October 3, 2016.

Difunden foto del “Kevin”, presunto sicario rescatado en emboscada de Culiacán.” Proceso. October 4, 2016.

“¿Quiénes son los hijos del “Chapo” que disputan el imperio de su padre?” La Opinión. October 5, 2016.