To say that the situation in Mexico is bad would be a gross understatement. Since the marine-lead capture of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in Sinaloa back in 2016 and his subsequent extradition to the US in 2017, drug-related violence has skyrocketed in his native land.
Multiple cartels have risen up to take El Chapo’s place and the casualties have been insane. In the first two quarters of 2017 alone, more than 12,500 people have met their demise, either at the hands of the cartels or while caught in their cross-fire. That’s at least 2,000 dead on a monthly basis.
El Chapo’s absence sparked this violence in a number of ways, not least of which is the rivalry among cartels gunning for the number one spot. Everyone wants to be the grande queso of the region. The Sinaloa cartel is the most profitable cartel in Mexico and, as Mel Brooks once said, “It’s good to be the king.”
Consequently, there is a severe Mexican standoff of sorts going on between three groups including Guzman’s past associates and the ruthless former-soldados of the Beltran Levya Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
As anyone who’s ever watched The Sopranos can probably tell, there is rarely an agreeable plan in place for the changing of the guard when it comes to violent organized crime organizations. The Sinaloa Cartel is hardly an exception to that rule.
The part that should alarm Americans the most is the glut of influence that El Chapo and his clan amassed at the # end of his reign. At the time of his recapture (El Chapo was originally captured in 1993 but allegedly escaped from prison in a laundry basket), Guzman had taken control of the vast majority of trafficking routes leading into the US.
With all of these mongrels fighting for control of this multi-billion dollar empire, the violence is only escalating. And it’s going to get worse now that the old cartels El Chapo had undermined are rising back up to reclaim their stronghold.
The scariest part of all is how vicious they have become. Like feral animals cornered, they are striking back with ferocity against any and all that stand in their way, whether it is rival criminals or government security personnel. And as they have proven time and again, they’re not afraid to kill their own.
A simple Google search for “chainsaw execution” returns a long number of horrific videos. Traitors or even suspected traitors end up in ditches alongside adversaries across Mexico City and beyond.
And as with the Islamic terror movement, the splintering is becoming great with more and more criminal organizations fragmenting into independent groups, and the in-fighting is intensifying.
While all of this began to transpire, new kids on the block entered the picture, looking for their piece of the proverbial pie. JNG (Jalisco New Generation) was founded in 2009 by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes. Cervantes isn’t battling windmills as his last name would suggest, but he’s every bit as much of a menace to the Simaloa Cartel as his first name would.
JNG front like they’re a nationalistic group, even going so far as to try and curry favor with the Mexican government, but they have proven themselves to be every bit as barbaric as the other animals looking to replace El Chapo.
How barbaric? Well, how barbaric is cannibalism? That’s right, JNG force their initiates to dine on the flesh of their victims. Fitting when one considers that members of Jalisco New Generation boast nicknames like “The Vulture.”
They are said to be more brutal than the notoriously brutal Los Zetas which is really saying something. After all, the leader of the Zetas chopped up a six-year old girl with an axe.
For those familiar with Mexico’s past, this will probably seem like history repeating itself. Which it is. Every time the Mexican government has taken down a big-time drug trafficker, it has resulted in severe bedlam with every blood-lusting drug pusher looking to take the last guy’s throne.
If you remember the US takedown of Pablo Escobar, you probably remember the subsequent splintering of the Colombian drug trade. The current situation is not much different. Except for one vital factor that hasn’t been addressed nearly as much as it should be.
Mexico’s street war is being fought with American guns. Between 2009 and 2014 alone, US guns in excess of 73,000 were seized by the Mexican government. Powerful, off-the-shelf semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 are being legally purchased in US border states and are then smuggled into the country, owing to their relatively low cost and lax gun laws in some border states.
Even as legislation is passed in the United States to limit or restrict the availability of firearms, another ongoing problem is rearing its ugly head. That is the transportation of unfinished gun parts into Mexico from the US. Taking advantage of a loophole in the US Gun Control Act, members of these sinister cartels are able to purchase all of the components of these rifles and move them into the country for the purpose of firearm assembly.
It’s a move that is ramping up the illegal gun trade and fuelling the never ending battle for power among organized crime members.
Despite this day-to-day tug of war between various factions of the cartels, the drug trade has continued to thrive with exports to the US reaching grandiose proportions.
Every action has its consequence and the consequence of the growing number of International drug sales is more and more bloodshed. The carnage is now spilling over into other regions of the country including areas that were previously hot spots for tourists.
Places that used to be virtually drug-free are now infested with criminal activity. Acapulco, once a beach resort town, is now the murder capital of Mexico with the casualty rate reaching record highs. American tourists have even found themselves among the victims of the violence in places like Cancun.
But it’s not just America that should be concerned about the Mexican drug war. Canadians should also be alarmed about the trouble that’s facing us all. The Mexican conflict started to spill over into Canada in 2009, posing a substantial security problem, and influenced a rash of British Columbia gang murders.
As far back as 2013, the Mexican cartels were taking the lives of eager Canadian mobsters who visited places like Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. At least one Canadian mobster was shot in broad daylight in a Mexican Starbucks.
As evidenced by a March 2017 article in the Huffington Post, written by a Mexican doctoral student at the University of Toronto, officials from Ottawa and Mexico City can no longer depend on American leadership to bridge the gap between Canada and Mexico. Nor can Canada rely on America to set an example in terms of on-going cooperation between our countries.
I’m inclined to agree as US President Donald J. Trump continues to ostracize us from Mexico while agreeing to sell high grade military equipment to other countries. Trump is too busy with orchestrating World War III to be bothered with the plight facing people in places like Juarez and Simaloa, never mind America’s brothers in the True North.
For the Citizens of the NRA, the situation is no better. In August, the US State Department released updated travel warnings encompassing 23 of Mexico’s 31 states, many of them meccas for tourism.
In spite of all this, the current US administration appears to be ignorant of the threat the Mexican cartels pose for Canadian residents as well as our southern neighbors. Fortunately, some of us are stamping out the second front that our country represents to the Simaloa Cartel by keeping it green.
Legal weed is starting to seriously steal the thunder from the Mexican drug trade. While the cocaine trade may still be booming, the pot game is plummeting. As of March of 2016, Southwest border seizures of marijuana had dropped to around 1.5 million lbs compared to almost 4 million lbs in 2009.
Still, change needs to come and we all need to wise up about what we’re actually dealing with. Before you get lost in a cloud of smoke, remember the importance of protecting our borders.
Sam Bocetta is a retired naval contractor who worked for over 35 years as an engineer specializing in electronic warfare and advanced computer systems. Past projects include development of EWTR systems, Antifragile EW project and development of Chaff countermeasures. Sam now teaches as a part-time engineering professor and is the LatAm affairs correspondent for Gun News Daily.Commenting Policy
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