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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

InSight Crime's 2022 Homicide Round-Up

NEWS / 8 FEB 2023

InSight Crime's 2022 Homicide Round-Up covers more countries than ever before, with a major expansion into nations of the Caribbean.

From Worst to Best: Anti-Money Laundering Capabilities in Latin America

NEWS / 7 FEB 2023

A new report points out how the success rate in fighting money laundering across Latin America varies widely from country to country.

Southern Mexico Extortion Suggests Migration of Central American Gangs 

NEWS / 30 JAN 2023

While thousands of gang members have been arrested in El Salvador, some may have moved their activities to Mexico.

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

Genaro García Luna

ELITES AND CRIME / JANUARY 18, 2023

The US trial of Genaro García Luna, the architect of Mexico's war on drugs, will seek to prove whether he was helping the Sinaloa Cartel.

Chapitos

EL CHAPO / JANUARY 9, 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

ILLEGAL MINING / 27 JAN 2023

With cartels like the CJNG muscling in on illegal mining in Michoacán, Mexico, Indigenous community members continue to suffer.

ELITES AND CRIME / JANUARY 18, 2023

The US trial of Genaro García Luna, the architect of Mexico's war on drugs, will seek to prove whether he was helping the Sinaloa Cartel.

COCAINE / 17 JAN 2023

The trial of Mexico’s former top public security official will reveal shortcomings in the fight against organized crime.

COCAINE / 13 JAN 2023

Dutch authorities have seized three Mexican drug loads at Schiphol Airport, marking a new trafficking trend for Europe.

CHAPITOS / 9 JAN 2023

Mexico has arrested one of El Chapo's sons, Ovidio, at a bitter cost. But will it make a difference to the Sinaloa Cartel?…

FENTANYL / 6 JAN 2023

Mexico's Familia Michoacana are back in the headlines again. But is it the same cartel as the one that fell apart years ago?…

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