HomeNewsAnalysisRe-emergence of Splinter Criminal Group is Bad Sign for Mexico
ANALYSIS

Re-emergence of Splinter Criminal Group is Bad Sign for Mexico

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 10 SEP 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

The resurfacing of Guerreros Unidos, a fragment of a larger transnational criminal organization whose leader was arrested in July, calls into question the claim that these smaller organizations should be easier for Mexican authorities to dismantle.

Redubbing itself Gurreros Unidos - La Nueva Empresa (United Warriors - the New Business), the criminal group made its presence felt again in Morelos state on the night of September 8, leaving a decapitated human head on a car alongside a written message.

The message reaffirmed the Guerreros Unidos' commitment to battling a rival group the Rojos, originally a hitman squad for the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) in Guerrero state, reports Notimex. (Full text of the Guerreros Unidos' banner here.)

The Guerreros Unidos were one of the several splinter gangs to emerge in 2011 from the remains of the BLO, itself a former wing of the Sinaloa Cartel. But when the group's leader, Cleotilde Toribio Renteria, alias "El Tilde," was arrested in Mexico City on July 9, the question was whether the Guerreros Unidos could survive the loss. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The emergence of yet another battle between splinter groups in a major metropolitan area raises the question of whether the Mexican governmet is successfully debilitating organized crime.  While the security forces have spent great effort, and have had some success, in capturing crime "kingpins," there seem to be an endless number of these middle level narcos.

El Tilde was a classic example. He reportedly had a long criminal career, originally working with the infamous BLO leader Edgar Valdez Villareal, alias "La Barbie," since 2005. But after La Barbie's split from the BLO and his subsequent arrest in 2010, El Tilde helped form various other BLO splinter groups in Guerrero state, including La Barredora and the Independent Cartel of Acapulco. In 2011, El Tilde established Guerreros Unidos in the more northern portion of Guerrero, with some reach into Morelos.

The Guerreros Unidos is just one of the many upstart groups that are appearing all across Mexico. The Knights Templar (Caballeros Templarios), Mano Con Ojos, and the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG) are just a few examples. Southern Pulse says these "regional" organizations also often ally with larger, multinational organizations, such as the Zetas or the Sinaloa Cartel, thus providing another plane in which battles can occur. 

These splinter groups are now largely thought to be responsible for the upsurge of violence in Mexico which intensified between 2010 and 2011. Battles between La Barredora and the Independent Cartel of Acapulco helped give Acapulco some of the highest levels of criminal violence in Mexico last year. 

These splinter groups also present a much different challenge for the government. They are more local and pursue a more diversified range of criminal activities, from kidnapping to car theft. While these activities represent less rent, they also have lower barriers of entry. The result is a fluid, constantly shifting terrain in which small organizations battle each other for smaller pieces of the criminal pie. Violence is inevitable and the wider range of municipalities with spikes in homicides is a testament to this shift.

In essence, something fundamental about Mexico's security plan is not working. It seems as though authorities have mastered phase one of the strategy: lopping off the head of the big drug cartels. But there does not yet appear to be a clear strategy for phase two -- cleaning up the mess left behind.

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.

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

EL CHAPO / 10 SEP 2015

A Mexican court order issued in August prohibits authorities from torturing, killing, or extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman,…

EL CHAPO / 13 DEC 2013

The former head of Mexico's secret service has branded Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman a "business genius" in…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 20 JUN 2011

Twenty-three people were killed in the Mexican state of Michoacan in one weekend, as the split between different leaders of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…