HomeNewsBriefGulf Cartel Future Uncertain as Alleged Infighting Escalates in North Mexico
BRIEF

Gulf Cartel Future Uncertain as Alleged Infighting Escalates in North Mexico

GULF CARTEL / 9 APR 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

A wave of violence in northern Mexico has been attributed to a bloody struggle for control of the Gulf Cartel, suggesting long running internal disputes and the loss of key leaders have led to a breakdown in the organization's structure.

In this past week alone, at least 35 people have been killed in clashes in a string of cities across the state of Tamaulipas, reported Proceso.

The violence began on April 4 with an assault on a hotel in Ciudad Mier, before spreading to the cities of Tampico, Miguel Aleman, Reynosa and Matamoros.

According to anonymous security forces sources consulted by EFE, the cause of the confrontations is a war for control of the Gulf Cartel, which has divided into factions following the recent arrests of two leading commanders.

One of these factions is controlled by the family of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who led the cartel in its heyday, and is based in Matamoros, while the other faction controls the metropolitan area of Tampico, according to Proceso.

InSight Crime Analysis

Once one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels, the Gulf Cartel has been in decline since 2010, when its armed wing, the Zetas, turned on their former masters. Shortly after, the group split into two competing factions, one known as the Metros, led by Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias "El Coss," and the other, the Rojos, which stayed loyal to the Cardenas family.

Since then, the group has been hit hard by war with the Zetas, and the arrests of leader El Coss in 2012 and his successor Mario Ramirez Treviño, alias "X20," in 2013, on the Metros side, and of Mario Cardenas Guillen, alias "El Gordo," on the Rojos side in 2012.

If the current reports of infighting are correct, it would suggest a continuation of the conflict begun years earlier, with the Cardenas family leading the Rojos against their rivals.

SEE ALSO: Gulf Cartel News and Profile

However, with no clear leadership emerging since the arrests, and the recent capture of another commander touted as a possible leader, the cartel may have broken down to such an extent that even this could be a simplification, and it is possible even more factions are disputing control.

The situation is further complicated by the enduring conflict with the Zetas in Tamaulipas, who themselves have been undergoing a process of division and fragmentation following the loss of key leaders.

In this new, ever more fractured criminal landscape, it is likely Tamaulipas will continue to be ravaged by violence, as the remnants of the two cartels battle over the remains of their fallen criminal empires.

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

HUMAN RIGHTS / 12 MAR 2015

At the end of a report that describes "disturbing" levels of impunity around torture cases in Mexico, the United Nations…

COLOMBIA / 6 NOV 2018

As the opioid crisis continues to ravage the United States, with a record number of overdose deaths, crime groups in…

JUAREZ CARTEL / 20 APR 2015

Authorities have captured the alleged head of the Juarez Cartel, once one of Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking organizations that…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…