Police in Mexico have arrested the leader and founder of a violent drug gang known as the Resistencia, one of many second-tier gangs to emerge from the splintering of larger cartels in recent years.
On September 12, Mexican Federal Police announced the capture of Ramiro Pozos Gonzalez, alias “El Molca,” who authorities claim is the leader and founder of the Resistancia. According to El Universal, El Molca was arrested the day before in the town of Metepec, in Mexico State.
El Molca began his criminal career with the Milenio Cartel, a minor drug trafficking network that split from the Sinaloa Cartel in 1999 and set up operations in Michoacan. When the Milenio Cartel took a hit with the arrest of its leadership in 2010, El Molca established the Resistencia as a way to repel a Sinaloa incursion into the state, developing close ties with the Familia Michoacana and the Zetas.
The Resistencia has been especially active in the western state of Jalisco, where it has been engaged in a bloody battle with the Sinaloa-affiliated Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG).
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The arrest of El Molca comes as a heavy blow to the Resistencia, which has seen its influence waning in recent months. It also comes at a chaotic time for its rivals in the CJNG, whose Jalisco leader’s capture in March resulted in a wave of violence in the state.
These arrests are part of an developing theme in Mexico, as the government strategy of going after “high value targets” causes larger criminal groups to fracture. Newer, smaller and more localized gangs like the CJNG and Resistencia have emerged from this strategy, and in turn have been blamed for the increase in drug-related violence in the country.
It remains to be seen what effect El Molca’s arrest will have on the Resistencia. Because of its already weakened position, the chances of the group staging a comeback are slim. And if the Resistencia does in fact die out, it could provide the incoming government of Enrique Peña Nieto, who has vowed to prioritize cracking down on smaller gangs, with a potential blueprint.