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On SecurityOct 8, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Methamphetamine crystals
The Cartel Connection to the Meth on America's Streets
On its own, it was an impressive haul, but in the wider picture, it was just a drop in the bucket: On Sept. 26 at a checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, U.S. Border Patrol agents seized 64 kilograms (142 pounds) of methamphetamine with a street value of $4.5 million. A methamphetamine seizure of this size is not surprising or unusual, especially in this location, given that cartels in Mexico manufacture the drug at home before smuggling it into the United States. Indeed, 97 percent of the methamphetamine seized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) occurs along the U.S.-Mexican border, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration's 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment. So what exactly is driving this record-setting production of methamphetamine? For me, two main factors are responsible: economics and cartel dynamics. Ultimately, a combination of high-quality drugs, record-low prices and the massive competition among ever-splintering cartels is flooding the hungry U.S. market
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On SecurityJul 23, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka "el Chapo Guzman" (C), is presented to the press on Feb. 22, 2014 in Mexico City.
'El Chapo' Is Done, But Mexico's Cartel Wars Certainly Aren’t
And so the curtain falls on the career of a criminal mastermind. On July 17, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera was sentenced to serve life plus 30 years in prison following a February conviction on 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, drug trafficking and firearms charges. Shortly after the sentencing hearing, Guzman was sent to the U.S. administrative maximum (ADX) penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. Guzman has a long history of shenanigans in -- and escapes from -- Mexican penitentiaries, but the book is now officially closed on him. Guzman has never been incarcerated in a facility like the ADX in Florence, which is home to some of the most dangerous criminals and terrorists in the world, meaning he has zero chance of either continuing to run his criminal enterprise from the prison or escaping from it. The end to Guzman's illicit activities, however, does
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AssessmentsJul 11, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican police take position outside a house during a search in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco State, Mexico, on June 21, 2019.
Murder in Mexico in 2019: A Midyear Checkup
Mexican news outlet Milenio on July 1 published its unofficial count of murders in Mexico for the first half of 2019. Milenio counted 2,249 murders in June alone, the highest monthly number the news outlet has recorded since it began keeping its own tally in 2007. In fact, this is the first time that Milenio's numbers have ever surpassed 2,000 for any given month. According to Milenio, the four states with the highest murder counts in June were Jalisco with 206, Mexico with 202, Baja California with 181 and Guanajuato with 176. While these numbers are not official, they still serve as a good barometer by which to measure the state of the country's violence. As expected, Mexico appears well on its way to another record-setting year for murders. Based on the trends we outlined in our 2019 annual cartel forecast, the high levels of violence in Jalisco, Mexico State, Baja
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On SecurityJan 29, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Officials display rifle ammunition seized from the Los Zetas drug cartel in June 2011.
Tracking Mexico's Cartels in 2019
Since 2006, Stratfor has produced an annual cartel report chronicling the dynamics of the organizations that make up the complex mosaic of organized crime in Mexico. When we began, the landscape was much simpler, with only a handful of major cartel groups. But as we noted in 2013, the long process of balkanization -- or splintering -- of the groups has made it difficult to analyze them the way we used to. Indeed, many of the organizations we had been tracking, such as the Gulf cartel, imploded and fragmented into several smaller, often competing factions. Because of this fracturing, we changed our analysis in 2013 to focus on the clusters of smaller groups that emanate from three main geographic areas: Sinaloa state, Tamaulipas state and the Tierra Caliente region.
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On SecurityOct 23, 2018 | 05:30 GMT
A Mexican Army expert in protective gear displays crystal meth paste at a clandestine laboratory near la Rumorosa town in Tecate, Baja California state, Mexico on Aug. 28.
How the Globalization of Mexican Business Helped Spread Crime
Recently, I found myself explaining to a client how illicit goods flow into and through Mexico and then onward to the United States, and it occurred to me that there are many logistical similarities between Mexican transnational criminal organizations and the countless manufacturers operating in Mexico. After further consideration, it became clear that many of the factors that make Mexico an attractive destination for foreign businesses also make it attractive for criminal enterprises. It is no mistake that the pieces of real estate that Mexican criminal groups fight over often directly overlap with major logistical and production nodes of the traditional economy. In many ways Mexico's globalized criminal landscape is a mirror of its globalized legitimate economy -- and they have both been growing in power.
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On SecuritySep 25, 2018 | 08:30 GMT
Mexican soldiers escort Oscar Pozos Jimenez (L) and Jose Serna Padilla, an alleged member of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, in Guadalajara on March 18, 2012.
What Happens When a Major Mexican Cartel Leader Falls?
The attack was almost cinematic: Just over a week ago, gunmen dressed as mariachi musicians shot dead five people at a restaurant in Mexico City's Plaza Garibaldi, a place of attraction for locals and tourists alike. The latest violence to grab the headlines illustrates how cartel figures are now dragging violence with them into the tourist areas and upscale neighborhoods they frequent and inhabit. At the same time, it shows how the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) has expanded its presence throughout the length and breadth of Mexico. As a result of the group's atrocities, CJNG leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (El Mencho) has become public enemy number one. But amid the violence, the bigger question for Mexican authorities is not how to capture or kill Oseguera Cervantes, but a far more distressing one: What happens the day after?
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AssessmentsSep 17, 2018 | 18:48 GMT
Plaza Garibaldi on Sept. 15, 2018, in Mexico City a day after a shooting there.
Mexico: Cartels Drag Violence Into Tourist Zones With Latest Shooting
The party atmosphere surrounding Mexico's Independence Day celebrations in Mexico City's Garibaldi Plaza was shattered Sept. 14 when a group of three gunmen dressed as mariachis opened fire on a group seated at a restaurant. The hail of pistol and rifle fire killed five people and injured another eight. The apparent target of the attack was Jorge Flores Concha "El Tortas," the leader of a criminal organization known as "La U," or "La Fuerza Antiunion," a group that split from the powerful Union Tepito crime network.
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On SecurityFeb 2, 2017 | 08:01 GMT
Investigators work a crime scene in Cancun, Mexico, where a gunfight erupted on Jan. 17.
Mexico's Cartels Will Continue to Splinter in 2017
Stratfor has tracked Mexico's drug cartels for over a decade. For most of that time, our annual forecasts focused on the fortunes and prospects of each trafficking organization. But as Mexican organized crime groups have gradually fractured and fallen apart -- a process we refer to as balkanization -- we have had to refine the way we think about them. The cartels are no longer a handful of large groups carving out territory across Mexico, but a collection of many different smaller, regionally based networks. So, rather than exploring the outlook of every individual faction, we now take them as loose gatherings centered on certain core areas of operation: Tamaulipas, Tierra Caliente and Sinaloa.
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AssessmentsJan 25, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
Special Report: Mexico's Cartels Will Continue to Erode in 2016
Mexican authorities have recaptured Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, and the media have had a field day, but, as with his escape, Mexico's cartel landscape remains pretty much unchanged. Fissures and infighting among drug cartels are redefining the drug trade -- and the fight against it. As indicated in our 2015 Cartel Annual update, Stratfor categorizes Mexican organized criminal groups by the distinct geographic areas from which they emerged, and it is clear that the trajectories of Mexico's three regional organized crime umbrellas -- Sinaloa state, Tamaulipas state and Tierra Caliente -- are set: All will continue their decentralization and division in 2016.
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