The capture of a leader of Mexico's Beltran Leyva Organization is set to further the ongoing fragmentation of one of the country's most powerful criminal groups, which could in turn lead to increased violence in certain areas.
Federal Police in the state of Jalisco detained on December 9 Alfredo Beltrán Guzmán, alias "El Mochomito," along with four other suspects including his bodyguard, El Universal reported.
Authorities have accused El Mochomito of "ordering various kidnappings and murders against members of rival groups" as well as involvement in the drug trade, Animal Político reported.
El Mochomito is the son of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, alias "El Mochomo," a former leader of the Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO) who was arrested in Mexico in 2008 and extradited to the United States in 2014. El Mochomito allegedly took a top position in the BLO following his father's detention.
In addition, El Mochomito's mother is the cousin of jailed Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias "El Chapo." Following El Mochomo's 2008 arrest, the Sinaloa Cartel and the BLO began an intense war against each other, which had its roots in the suspicion that El Chapo had provided authorities with information that led them to the BLO leader.
El Mochomito's organization is suspected of carrying out an attack on the home of El Chapo's mother in June of this year, as well as partnering with the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG), another rival of the Sinaloa Cartel suspected of participating in the kidnapping and subsequent release of two of El Chapo's sons in August.
The leadership of the BLO, though fractured, now appears to be increasingly concentrated in the hands of Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, alias "Chapo Isidro," a somewhat murky figure who is thought to have been one of the primary players in the BLO-Sinaloa Cartel war.
InSight Crime Analysis
The arrest of El Mochomito could provoke further fragmentation in Mexico's criminal landscape. Recent security operations have captured or killed several of the BLO's other suspected top leaders, resulting in internal power struggles that have weakened the group. Nevertheless, as InSight Crime has previously pointed out, this strategy of targeting top leaders can create leadership vacuums within criminal organizations that can generate more violence, as prospective leaders battle to fill these top positions.
SEE ALSO: Beltrán Leyva Organization Profile
In an interview with Univision, security analyst Alejandro Hope said that he expects El Mochomito's arrest to result in the development of new criminal groups in western Mexico, where the BLO and Sinaloa Cartel have their strongholds. Hope also said that he foresees continuing violence in that part of the country related to conflicts among such groups.
In addition to internal unrest within the BLO, there are other dynamics that could contribute to ongoing violence in Mexico. Some experts have speculated that El Chapo's impending extradition to the United States has encouraged the Sinaloa Cartel's rivals to attempt to move in on territory controlled by the group. This encroachment could lead to further clashes between the Sinaloa Cartel and groups like the BLO and CJNG, particularly in strategic areas like Tijuana, one of the most important corridors for trafficking drugs into the United States.