Noel Salgueiro Nevarez AKA “El Flaco” (Skinny), the Sinaloa Cartel‘s top boss in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, was captured by army troops Oct. 5 in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in what authorities called a precise operation with no shots fired. El Flaco’s arrest “affects the leadership structure, as well as the operational capabilities,” of the Sinaloa network in Chihuahua, the Defense Secretariat and Prosecutor General’s office said in a joint statement. He is said to be the leader of a criminal gang called the Gente Nueva (New People), which serves as a local enforcement arm of the Sinaloa Cartel (also known as the Pacific Cartel) in Chihuahua. However, the cartel’s maximum boss, Joaquín Guzmán AKA “El Chapo” (Shorty), still remains at large. (EFE, Borderland Beat, Oct. 5)
That same day, Martín Rosales Magaña AKA “El Terry”—identified as a founder of La Familia Michoacana—was detained by Federal Police at Las Juntas, Tejupilco municipality, in the state of México. Authorities say that with his arrest—along with three associates, all of them armed with rifles—La Familia is effectively dismantled, with its top leaders either in prison or dead. This is also seen as a blow against Los Zetas narco-network, which had established La Familia as local proxies in Michoacán state.
La Familia and Los Zetas were said to be fighting a network calling itself the Caballeros Templarios, or Knights Templar, for control of several key cities in Michoacán and neighboring states. Federal authorities say they will now focus their efforts in the region on taking down the Knights Templar. (La Crónica de Hoy, Oct. 6; APRO, BBC News, Oct. 5)
A similar struggle appears to be underway in another western state, Jalisco. According to Luis Carlos Najera Gutierrez, Jalisco secretary of public security, Los Zetas have forged an alliance with the local Milenio Cartel (also known as the Valencia Cartel). Following a Sept. 11 clash between police and cartel gunmen in Guadalajara that resulted in the death of two suspects and a state police officer, Najera claimed that authorities found a message announcing the union of the two groups. Authorities have not released the contents of the message, allegedly discovered in a vehicle seized in the aftermath of the shooting. Apparently resisting the Zetas and Milenio Cartel is the Jalisco Cartel—New Generation (CJNG), with the conflict claiming a growing number of lives in the Guadalajara area. In February, the Milenio Cartel posted a series of ominous “narco-banners” around the city threatening the CJNG with turning Jalisco into “another Tamaulipas or Guerrero,” two states where violence has recently soared. (InSight Crime, Sept. 14)
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US busts alleged Sinaloa Cartel smuggling ring in Arizona
State, local and federal law enforcement in Arizona announced Oct. 31 that they have dismantled a smuggling ring allegedly operated by the Sinaloa Cartel, which is believed to have trafficked some $2 billion of drugs from Mexico through the state over the past five years. See full story at Global Ganja Report.
Sinaloa Cartel kingpin’s wide gives birth in California
The young wife of Mexico’s most wanted drug lord Chapo Guzmán gave birth to twin girls at a hospital in California this summer, according to the LA Times. Emma Coronel, 22, crossed the border in mid-July and delivered her daughters at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster on Aug. 15, the Times reported. Coronel, a former beauty queen who holds US citizenship, returned to Mexico after they were born. Because they were born in the US, her children also qualify for US citizenship. Birth certificates listed Coronel as the mother of the girls, but the spaces for the father’s name are blank. US law enforcement officials, who tracked her movements even before she traveled to Lancaster, told the Times that Coronel was not arrested because there are no charges against her. (LAT, Sept. 26)
Another Sinaloa Cartel kingpin busted —but still not El Chapo
Ovidio Limón Sánchez, an accused top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, was detained by army troops in Culiacán Nov. 10. No shots were fired, military officials said. Limón Sánchez is wanted US “for importing and distributing hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States within the last two decades,” according to a State Department notice. “The detention of Limón Sánchez significantly affects the Guzman criminal organisation in its capacity to traffic cocaine and weakens its ability to generate financial resources,” Defense Secretariat spokesman Col. Ricardo Trevilla said. He added that Limón Sánchez has been turned over to civil authorities, but did not say whether he would be extradited. (AP, Nov. 11; BBC News, Nov, 10)