HomeNewsBriefMexico City Sounds Alarm on Potential Transformation of Its Gangs
BRIEF

Mexico City Sounds Alarm on Potential Transformation of Its Gangs

INFOGRAPHICS / 29 MAR 2019 BY NATASHA CLANCY EN

Authorities in Mexico have identified seven gangs that pose major security threats in the country’s capital, although their status and potential impact on the broader security situation remains unclear.

The Mexican government has singled out seven gangs operating in Mexico City, which according to the Ministry of Public Safety, are at high risk of transforming into cartels, Milenio reported.

These groups consist of youths between 16 and 23 years old, have no clear structure and appear to have captured the attention of authorities due to the high levels of violence they generate in the capital.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

They have reportedly been responsible for 60 percent of Mexico City’s violence in the last several months. The groups engage in microtrafficking, extortion and theft on public transit primarily in four zones of the city: Magdalena Contreras, Álvaro Obregón, Miguel Hidalgo and Tlalpan, according to Milenio.

(Map c/o Milenio)

“If actions are not taken, these groups will become cartels in a few years. It’s as simple as that,” said Mexico City's Secretary of Public Safety Jesús Orta Martínez.

Authorities say these groups have grown stronger due to a lack of clear security plans in areas where they operate. But President Andrés Manuel López Obrador alleges that he has a “well-defined strategy” to “confront and neutralize” such groups in the capital through preventative strategies focused on social development, improving city services, education and health.

InSight Crime Analysis

Authorities have often denied the presence of organized crime in Mexico City, and it is so far unclear why these groups have suddenly been singled out and given the status of potentially morphing into "cartels." These are unsophisticated gangs made up of very young members engaging in petty crimes, and their future impact remains uncertain.

One possibility is that these delinquent groups merge together in order to survive potential threats presented by more powerful criminal organizations operating in Mexico City, as well as the pressure of being targeted by security forces.

These gangs appear to have a lot in common already. Members come from poorer neighborhoods with violent backgrounds, and the groups carry out the same types of low-profile criminal activities. It would make sense for them to join forces.

SEE ALSO: What Is Behind the Recent Wave of Violence in Mexico City?

Such has been the case in central Guanajuato state. Formed in 2017 after the Jalisco Cartel -- New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG) expanded into the area in order to take advantage of fuel theft, the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel banded together with other groups to fight back and has now emerged as a major criminal player in the area.

The other option is for these gangs to align themselves with more established criminal organizations operating in the capital, such as the Tláhuac Cartel or Unión de Tepito. This would allow the gangs to become part of more sophisticated criminal activities and could in turn strengthen the status and power of existing groups, ultimately posing a bigger threat to the city’s security situation.

However, it seems unlikely that such organizations are looking to add younger, violent members into their ranks, actions which would undoubtedly sound the alarm for authorities.

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

MEXICO / 7 MAY 2012

In the latest outbreak of violence in Mexican border city Nuevo Laredo, 23 bodies were found on Friday accompanied by…

GUATEMALA / 11 JUL 2011

After the murder of Facundo Cabral, a well-known Argentine singer, Guatemala's government was quick to offer an explanation: the hit…

HOMICIDES / 3 OCT 2016

Many of Mexico's most violent cities are home to competing criminal groups and drug-fueled conflicts, a clear sign of how organized…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…