HomeNewsBriefThe Demons in the Sinaloa Cartel’s Closet
BRIEF

The Demons in the Sinaloa Cartel’s Closet

EL CHAPO / 8 APR 2019 BY CARLA DI FRANCO EN

The arrest of Juan Guadalupe Jacobo Regalado, alias "El J3" or "El Chepa," in early April marked a significant blow against the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico and showed an interesting reveal into the powerful group's internal structure.

Regalado reportedly trafficked drugs and weapons to the United States for the Sinaloa Cartel and was also revealed as being the head of Los Demonios, a powerful cell within the group which may have answered personally to Joaquin Guzmán Loera, alias "El Chapo."

SEE ALSO: Sinaloa Cartel News and Profile

El Chepa was arrested on April 3 in a residential area of Culiacán, the state capital of Sinaloa, and may now face potential extradition to Arizona.

Regalado was detained on suspicion of being the Sinaloa Cartel's operator for the trafficking of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine as well as firearms between the city of Nogales in Sonora, Mexico and Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona, Tribuna reported.

US authorities have long been on alert about drug trafficking through Phoenix as it is a major distribution hub for the rest of the country. El Chepa's capture reveals that this key drug trafficking route was being operated by Los Demonios (The Demons), which would seem to make them a powerful offshoot within the Sinaloa Cartel.

InSight Crime Analysis

Three members of Los Demonios were arrested in May 2018, including the group's second-in-command, yet they were not included in a list of Sinaloa Cartel cells issued by authorities around the same time.

These cells mostly act as armed wings of the Sinaloa Cartel, securing specific territories against rival threats or controlling criminal economies from drug trafficking to extortion.

SEE ALSO: The Sinaloa Cartel's "El Mayo," Mexico's Last True Capo

Some of them also appeared to personally answer to specific Sinaloa leaders. Where Los Demonios were reported as being loyal to El Chapo, new leader Ismael Zambada García, alias “El Mayo," is close to "Los Cabrera," a family-run gang in Durango.

Specific information about these cells has been hard to come by. For example, it is currently uncertain whether one of these groups, "Cartel del Poniente," remains affiliated to the Sinaloa Cartel or has switched sides to join the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG).

With El Chapo out of the picture, El Mayo became the new leader of the Sinaloa group with the support of Guzmán Loera's sons, known collectively as "Los Chapitos."

But the reveal of Los Demonios' reach into the United States, despite little being known about them before El Chepa's arrest shows how the Sinaloa Cartel continues to depend on specific cells in charge of territories or criminal economies, answering to a central command.

Since the fall of El Chapo, the Sinaloa Cartel has managed to project an image of control, unifying under the leadership of El Mayo, maintaining a strong structure while other criminal groups have fragmented.

Securing the continuing allegiance of these cells, each in their own fiefdom, has likely been key to El Mayo's power.

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 / 14 NOV 2011

The death of one of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's most trusted drug war lieutenants, Jose Francisco Blake Mora, in a…

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 2 OCT 2013

The brutal criminal tactics associated with Mexico's cartels are becoming increasingly common in Honduras, suggesting a migration of criminal methods…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 30 MAY 2014

A spate of murders in Guerrero, Mexico appears to be linked to a power struggle between local gangs as criminal…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…