Reported infighting within Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel in Honduras has added to the bloodshed in San Pedro Sula, providing a grim demonstration of the group's notable presence in this Central American nation's second-largest city.
The most recent killing -- on May 26 -- reads like something from a Hollywood movie: two police uniform-clad assassins hunted down and killed their target in a supermarket, following a midday car chase through the streets of the city. Two innocent bystanders also died in the attack.
The dead Honduran man, Dennys Roberto Bonilla Guzman, reportedly helped rob a Sinaloa Cartel stash house alongside Mexican father and son Juan Jose Lopez and Adolfo Leon Lopez, who were gunned down together less than a week earlier. A police raid on Bonilla's residence uncovered heavy weapons, drugs and $680,000.
The three men were reportedly close associates of Nelson Molina, a Guatemalan man described by La Prensa as the second-in-command of the criminal group, who was murdered in his home on April 29. Following Molina's death, the three apparently decided to make off with the money, prompting other cartel operatives to go after them.
Altogether, ten people -- among them Mexicans, Hondurans, a Guatemalan and a Venezuelan -- have been killed as a result of recent cartel infighting, reported La Prensa.
According to La Prensa, authorities said the fighting may be tied to the recent capture and extradition of Honduran narco Carlos "El Negro" Lobo, who the US government says was a key cocaine provider to the Sinaloa Cartel.
InSight Crime Analysis
In normal circumstances, this carnage may not have raised many eyebrows in a city with a reported homicide rate of 187 per 100,000 people. However, the idea it is linked to an internal dispute within the Sinaloa Cartel is notable.
Sources close to InSight Crime have suggested San Pedro Sula is second only to Sinaloa state capital Culiacan in Mexico among urban centers critical to the group's activities.
SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles
Honduras is a key transit country for drug shipments heading to the United States via Mexico, and San Pedro Sula, as a major center of drug and gang violence and home to a corrupt and overburdened security apparatus, is an ideal staging ground for cartel activity.
While La Prensa indicates the recent killings are the product of factional violence follwing the capture of a crime boss, InSight Crime sources have suggested the most significant Sinaloa Cartel operative in Honduras is still active in the city. It remains to be seen whether this leader can restore order, or whether these ten deaths will be the first of many.