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

JALISCO CARTEL / 17 DEC 2021

The United States and Mexico have officially entered a new phase of their partnership to tackle transnational organized crime groups…

CACHIROS / 28 DEC 2020

A rush of drug plane traffic from South America, coupled with traffickers smuggling large cocaine shipments after coronavirus border restrictions…

BRAZIL / 11 DEC 2020

The world’s biggest oil trading firm faces a large fine after a multi-country investigation revealed it bribed Brazilian, Mexican and…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…