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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

Capture of Hell Troop Leader Could Mean Trouble Brewing in Tamaulipas, Mexico

NEWS / 1 DEC 2022

Nuevo Laredo was set ablaze following the capture of a Northeast Cartel leader. But what does this mean for the city's criminal dynamics?…

Digital Wild West: Latin America Unprepared for Crypto-Crime

NEWS / 23 NOV 2022

A lack of regulation surrounding how crypto-currencies are used by organized crime has left Latin America dangerously exposed.

US Sanctions Oversimplify Fentanyl Trafficking From Mexico

NEWS / 22 NOV 2022

Authorities in the United States have sanctioned a Mexican criminal group for trafficking illicit fentanyl into the country.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 21 NOV 2022

Wildlife traffickers in Mexico are taking advantage of the social media marketplace, placing some of Mexico’s endangered species in peril.

HOMICIDES / 17 NOV 2022

Hidalgo, Mexico faces a rise in violence connected to a parallel increase in oil theft.

FENTANYL / 16 NOV 2022

Mexico’s two most powerful organized crime groups are reportedly sourcing precursor chemicals from the same suppliers to produce fentanyl.

FENTANYL / 14 NOV 2022

Many American users, perhaps the majority, now realize when they’re consuming illicit fentanyl. This has changed the way they look for it.

ELITES AND CRIME / 4 NOV 2022

Mothers searching for their disappeared loved ones in Mexico face increasing threats and killings.

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 NOV 2022

The trial of Genaro García Luna, Mexico's public security minister during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, is fast approaching.

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