HomeNewsAnalysisMexico Deploys 15,000 Federal Forces, Many to Zetas Territory
ANALYSIS

Mexico Deploys 15,000 Federal Forces, Many to Zetas Territory

INFOGRAPHICS / 31 AUG 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Mexico announced it would send just under 12,000 military personnel and 4,000 federal police to seven Mexican states, most of which are strongholds of the Zetas gang, which is rumored to be on the verge of a split.

In total, 15,735 federal officers will be sent to Michoacan, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. Of these, 11,835 will be from the military and the remaining 3,900 federal police, reported Proceso.

The troop surge comes in response to recent headline-making violence in some of the states in question. In Michoacan last Friday, clashes between gangs and police left 10 people dead, including four federal officers. El Informador reported that the Familia Michocana gang set fire to vehicles to try and prevent the arrival of reinforcements. As part of the new deployment, Michoacan will receive 600 federal police and two helicopters, along with radio patrol cars and armored vehicles.

North of Michoacan, meanwhile, authorities found 14 bodies in a van in San Luis Potosi on August 9. The state's attorney general, Miguel Angel Garcia, told media that the victims had been kidnapped in the state of Coahuila before being killed and dumped in San Luis Potosi. He added that the violence was likely due to clashes between rival factions of the Zetas drug gang. Three days after the discovery of the bodies, the mayor-elect of Matehuala in San Luis Potosi was murdered by gunmen.

Earlier this month, there was a series of attacks on businesses and media organizations in Nuevo Leon.

InSight Crime Analysis

Parts of five of the states where the deployment is being carried out are considered to be Zetas territory (see map below): namely Coahuila, Zacatecas, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi. One explanation for the attacks in San Luis Potosi, as Angel Garcia mentioned, could be a rumored split in the Zetas leadership.

Security forces surge vs. Zetas Aug 2012Reports surfaced towards the end of last month suggesting that the relationship between the group's main leaders -- Heriberto Lazcano, alias “Z-3”, and Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z-40” -- had fractured and that the two could be heading for confrontation. However, public banners, or "narcomantas," have since appeared denying any such split. If the group does fracture, it could be more complicated than a simple divide between two warring factions. As InSight Crime noted last year, there are indications that the Zetas' command structure has become fragmented, with mid-level commanders unilaterally carrying out violent acts without the approval of their bosses. Should this disintegration continue, it could mean a sustained battle between smaller rival factions over territory.

Mexican journalist Jorge Fernandez Menendez predicted that San Luis Potosi could become a a new "epicenter of violence" in the coming weeks as Zetas factions fight one another, with repercussions for Zacatecas and Coahuila.

Meanwhile, Michoacan and Guanajuato are home to the Familia Michocana and their offspring the Caballeros Templarios, which have been fighting one another for the last 18 months. Michaocan was the first state to which Calderon deployed troops after he took office in December 2006, but it remains a region dominated by organized crime.

The question is whether the government increasing military presence in these areas will succeed in bringing down gang violence. Recent history suggests that the move may be counterproductive, at least in the short term. Since taking office Calderon has made military deployments a central component of his fight against the country's drug gangs. Though the country has been largely supportive of this approach, with 64 percent of the population in favor, a 2011 report by Nexos found that homicides had risen in the areas where Calderon sent troops, particularly in states such as Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.

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

COLOMBIA / 19 MAY 2017

A recent visit by top US officials to Mexico and a meeting between the presidents of Colombia and the United…

DRUG POLICY / 10 JUN 2014

Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto has said he is willing to discuss legalizing marijuana, becoming the latest regional leader to…

BRAZIL / 31 DEC 2015

Welcome to InSight Crime's Game Changers 2015, where we highlight the year's most important trends in organized crime in Latin…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…