HomeNewsAnalysisBloggings by Boz: Tough Year to be a Mexican Mole
ANALYSIS

Bloggings by Boz: Tough Year to be a Mexican Mole

MEXICO / 13 DEC 2010 BY BOZ EN

Reprinted with perimission from James Bosworth, of Bloggings by Boz. 

One of the regular critiques of the Mexican government's offensive against the drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and of fighting organized crime in the hemisphere in general is that it's a game of "Whac-a-mole." We'll see that come up again this week with the reported successful operation against La Familia leader Nazario "El Mas Loco" Moreno. The conventional wisdom is that hitting the cartel leaders only leads to new cartel leaders emerging.

[When countries go after organized criminal leaders, pundits accuse them of playing a worthless game of whac-a-mole. When they go after lower level criminals in the organization's structure, pundits accuse them of ignoring the real criminals. It's easy and fun to be a pundit, but I digress...]

However, as Gancho and others have noted, Mexico has whacked a lot of moles this year. At the very least, they've gotten "Moreno, Nacho Coronel, La Barbie, Sergio Villarreal, Teo García, Tony Tormenta, and Arturo Beltrán" among others. Additionally, there are indications that the pressure has increased on some of the other top-level leadership in the criminal organizations.

With good reason, most analysts focus on the violence suffered by the Mexican population due to the ongoing conflict this year. But let's face it, 2010 wasn't an easy year to be a drug lord either. The Mexican military, particularly the Navy, increased the pressure and the rivalries among the DTOs became more intense and more violent, particularly anything involving the Zetas.

It's easy to point out the flaws of the whac-a-mole strategy, but played well, it sucks to be the mole. Also, in spite of the standard narrative, criminal leadership doesn't spring from nowhere to take the place of a fallen capo. These leaders have years of experience, connections, institutional knowledge and publicity. The Mexican government taking out multiple high value targets within a few months degrades the DTOs' capabilities and organizational structure in a way that's not easily replaceable.

Unlike the moles in the arcade game, these are intelligent and adaptable organizations. They may have had a profitable year, but did not have a good year in 2010 as they faced violence and pressure. If 2011 looks like 2010, the bad guys are going to change their strategy so they can survive long enough to enjoy their profits. Do the DTOs change countries or transit routes? Do they downsize their organizations or their own rich lifestyles to attract less attention from authorities? Do they merge or split? Do they find new ways to attack and terrorize the state or the population as a response to the pressure? Do they try to make a deal with the state?

I'm not sure which direction they'll change next year, but I do know that the moles did not enjoy how the game was played this year. From their end, as they think about strategy moving forward, something has to change. The Mexican government should be prepared.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

GULF CARTEL / 24 MAY 2011

The governor of Tabasco state, Mexico, announced that a group of Guatemalan former special forces, known as Kaibiles…

CYBERCRIME / 22 JAN 2013

Hacker collective Anonymous claims to have the personal details of over 25,000 members of the Mexican Army following a series…

COLOMBIA / 30 DEC 2014

Welcome to InSight Crime's Game Changers for 2014, where we highlight the year's most important trends in organized crime in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.