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Mexico

Mexico is home to some of the hemisphere’s largest, most sophisticated and violent organized criminal groups. These organizations have drawn from Mexico’s long history of smuggling and its close proximity to the United States, the world’s largest economy, to grow into a regional threat.

Latest News

Questions Abound in Killing of Local Police Chief in Sinaloa, Mexico

NEWS / 9 AUG 2022

Little clarity has followed the brazen assassination of a local police chief in northern Mexico.

United States Suddenly Keen to See Guatemala Extradite Human Smugglers

NEWS / 8 AUG 2022

A US request has led Guatemala to dismantle a prolific human smuggling ring that smuggled migrants to the United States.

Human Trafficking Victims Grow as Mexico Government Strategy Falters

NEWS / 5 AUG 2022

Human trafficking appears on the rise in Mexico, with the government struggling to find a strategy forward.

Mexico Profile

Criminal Actors

Armed Groups

Mexico's criminal landscape has morphed in recent years from one dominated by a handful of powerful cartels into a fragmented web of nearly 200 criminal groups defined by fragile and fast-changing alliances. While the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG) still dominate the scene, other upstart, hyperviolent groups have carved out a place for themselves through oil theft and other predatory crimes like extortion and kidnapping.

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Personalities

Chapitos

EL CHAPO / MARCH 8, 2022

The Chapitos are sons of former Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquín Guzmán, alias “El Chapo,” now fighting to control the cartel.

José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, alias 'El Marro'

MEXICO PERSONALITIES / AUGUST 3, 2020

José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, alias “El Marro,” is the former leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel (CSRL).

Dámaso López Núñez, alias 'Licenciado'

MEXICO / 2018-07-09

Dámaso López Núñez, alias "Licenciado, prominent in the Sinaloa Cartel, was extradited to the United States in 2018.

Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias 'El Mencho'

EL MENCHO / AUGUST 7, 2022

Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias "El Mencho," has propelled the Jalisco Cartel’s growth to become a fierce and powerful cartel.

Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, alias 'Chapo Isidro'

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 2016-11-17

Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, alias "Chapo" leads the Meza Flores, though little is known of his current criminal activities.

Mario Ramirez Treviño, alias 'X20'

GULF CARTEL / 2016-11-17

Mario Ramirez Treviño, alias X20, was a former police officer and headed the Gulf Cartel in northeastern Mexico.

Alejandro 'Omar' Treviño Morales, alias 'Z42'

MEXICO / JULY 17, 2021

Alejandro "Omar" Treviño Morales, alias "Z42," was one of the leader of Mexican cartel, the Zetas, and was captured 2015.

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias 'La Tuta'

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 2017-03-09

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias "La Tuta," was a former high-ranking member of the Familia Michoacana.

Edgardo Leyva Escandon, alias '24'

ALIAS 24 / 2017-03-09

Edgardo Leyva Escandon, alias “24," works for Mexico's Tijuana Cartel, and has been wanted the US since 2009.

José Jesús Méndez Vargas, alias 'El Chango'

EL CHANGO / 2017-03-10

Jose Jesus Mendez Vargas, alias "El Chango," was the right hand man of the leader of the Familia Michoacana.

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias 'El Chayo'

EL CHAYO / JULY 24, 2019

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo,” was a founding member of the Familia Michoacana and was killed in 2014.

Vicente Carrillo Leyva, alias 'El Ingeniero'

EL INGENIERO (JUAREZ) / 2017-03-10

Vicente Carrillo Leyva, alias "El Ingeniero," was a leader of the Juarez Cartel and was captured in 2009 by Mexican authorities.

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alias 'El Viceroy'

EL VICEROY / 2017-03-10

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alias "El Viceroy," inherited the Juárez Cartel after his brother, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, died in 1997.

Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, alias 'El Coss'

EL COSS / 2017-09-27

Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias "El Coss," headed the Gulf Cartel, based in Tamaulipas, until his capture in 2012.

Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias 'El Chapo'

EL CHAPO / 2019-03-29

Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzmán Loera, alias “El Chapo,” former Sinaloa Cartel leader, is serving life in the US.

Ismael Zambada García, alias 'El Mayo'

EL MAYO / MAY 5, 2021

Ismael Zambada Garcia, alias "El Mayo," is battlng the Chapitos for control of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Hector Beltran Leyva, alias 'El H'

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 2016-11-17

Hector Beltran Leyva, alias "El H," headed the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), once among Mexico’s most feared cartels.

Fernando Sanchez Arellano, alias 'El Ingeniero'

EL INGENIERO (TIJUANA) / 2016-10-20 20:29:31

Fernando Sanchez Arellano, alias "El Ingeniero," was the head of the Tijuana Cartel until his capture in June 2014.

Antonio Cardenas Guillen, alias 'Tony Tormenta'

GULF CARTEL / 2016-11-17

Antonio Cardenas Guillen, alias "Tony Tormenta," ran finance and logistics for the Gulf Cartel, before his death in 2010.

Alejandro Flores Cacho

ALEJANDRO FLORES CACHO / 2016-11-17

Little is know about Alejandro Flores Cacho, a pilot who runs air operations for the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

Heriberto Lazcano, alias 'Z3'

MEXICO PERSONALITIES / 2016-10-20

Heriberto Lazcano, alias "Z3," was a Mexican special forces commander before headed the Zetas’ drug trafficking operations.

Miguel Angel Treviño, alias 'Z40'

MEXICO PERSONALITIES / JULY 17, 2021

Miguel Angel Treviño, alias "Z40," led the feared Zetas in Mexico before his capture in 2013.

News

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 AUG 2022

Cartels like the Chapitos have asked for forgiveness from the Mexican people. Will it ever be given?…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 2 AUG 2022

A Yucatán community has formed a defense group to protect its local lobster population as illegal fishing causes numbers to fall.

GULF CARTEL / 29 JUL 2022

Mexican authorities crushed 23 "narco-tanks," while 630 armored vehicles have been confiscated since 2018.

JALISCO CARTEL / 22 JUL 2022

El Chapo's sons, the Jalisco Cartel, more - a free-for-all may be happening in Sonora after the fall of Rafael Caro Quintero.

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 19 JUL 2022

Amid El Salvador's brutal anti-gang crackdown, one top MS13 leader was escorted out of the country by a government official.

MEXICO / 16 JUL 2022

Rafael Caro Quintero, Mexican drug lord and erstwhile head of the defunct Guadalajara Cartel, has been apprehended by Mexican authorities.

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