HomeNewsBriefAnnounced Zetas, Gulf Alliance Could Change Mexico’s Criminal Landscape
BRIEF

Announced Zetas, Gulf Alliance Could Change Mexico’s Criminal Landscape

GULF CARTEL / 12 NOV 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Factions of the criminal organizations Zetas and Gulf Cartel announced the two criminal groups have formed an alliance, which, if true, would be a game changer in Mexico’s underworld by ending one of the country’s bloodiest criminal feuds.

In a joint statement circulated on November 11 (see below),  leaders of factions within the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas announced the criminal groups would stop fighting, declaring, “Those that kept the war going are either dead or in jail.”

The statement — signed by the head of the Gulf Cartel’s Los Rojos faction and the leader of the Zetas’ faction “Zetas Unidos” — claims the drug cartels agreed to the alliance because they want peace in Tamaulipas, for years the scene of brutal fighting between the two groups. As a result, the organizations will allegedly stop criminal activities that put at risk the general population such as kidnapping and extortion, and revert to “old school” ways, like drug trafficking.

In the statement, the leaders claim the two cartels are no longer fighting and are, “More united than ever.”

20141112 Mexico ZetasGulf Alliance

InSight Crime Analysis

If the statement is the product of a true alliance forged between the two drug cartels, it would have major ramifications for Mexico’s organized crime landscape. For years, Tamaulipas has been a hub of violence between the Gulf Cartel and its former military wing, the Zetas, as they battled for trafficking routes in key border cities like Nuevo Laredo. The bloodbath led to sky-high murder rates within the city and throughout Tamaulipas. Despite the decline of both organizations due to the capture or killing of important leaders in recent years, fighting persists as factions of the criminal groups battle for control over their former territories. 

It is worth noting the reported alliance was signed between minority leaders of both cartels, and does not necessarily indicate other factions of the two criminal groups are willing to go along with the peace agreement. The Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have decentralized operational structures that function closer to semi-independent franchises than traditional, hierarchical drug cartels. Some of the Zetas cells are held together together by name alone, as the Zetas brand gives them more strength than operating as an independent crime syndicate. This is increasingly becoming a pattern throughout Mexico as large, organized criminal groups give way to smaller groups with diverse revenue streams.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

The current weakened status of the two cartels make their pronouncement that they will go back to “old school” tactics, i.e., drug trafficking, all the more surprising. With their limited geographical reach and decentralized command structure, it is hard to imagine the Zetas or the Gulf Cartel regaining their old influence and trafficking routes in northern Mexico or the United States. As a result, it remains doubtful they will renounce other profitable ventures like extortion or kidnapping.

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.

Related Content

MEXICO / 9 SEP 2019

Police in Mexico's northern state of Sonora are resigning as many of their colleagues are violently killed but the government…

JALISCO CARTEL / 23 JUL 2013

Five people were killed and various others injured after an unidentified group shot at protesters in southwest Mexico's Michoacan state,…

JUAREZ CARTEL / 27 JUN 2011

With just a little over a year left in his term, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon is looking at a very…

Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …