On Security

One Man's Drive to Reshape Mexico's Cartel Wars

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Mar 1, 2018 | 17:54 GMT
Reputed cartel leader Juan Manuel Rodriguez Garcia, not shown, was arrested in Tamaulipas, officials said.

A Mexican federal police officer stands guard before a reputed leader of the Gulf cartel is presented to the news media in Mexico City in 2014. Alleged cartel leader Juan Manuel Rodriguez Garcia, aka 'Juan Perros,' was arrested in Tamaulipas, officials said.

(YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

On Feb. 19, Mexican marines stormed a house in Matamoros and arrested Jose Alfredo Cardenas, aka "the Accountant," the leader of a powerful remnant of the Gulf cartel. As noted in our 2018 annual cartel forecast, Cardenas is the nephew of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who was a leader of the Gulf cartel when it was a strong and unified organization. He is perhaps best known for his role in the militarization of Mexico's cartels. In the past, I've written about how exceptional individuals can make a difference at the tactical level in terrorism, and the same thing is true of criminal organizations. Now it appears that Cardenas is trying to reshape organized crime in Mexico by asserting his family's claim to the throne and putting all the pieces of the Gulf cartel back together....

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