Mexico: crackdown on armed forces narco links?

On May 19, the Mexican army announced the arrest of eight suspects in the massacre of 49 people who were decapitated, mutilated and left in plastic bags on the side of a highway in Cadereyta, Nuevo León, just outside Monterrey last week. Among those arrested was suspected ringleader Daniel Elizondo, AKA “El Loco”—said to be a member of the Gulf Cartel. Drugs, guns and hand grenades were seized during the arrests. However, authorities earlier said that the graffito “100% Zeta” found near the bodies indicated that Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel’s bitter rivals, were responsible. At the time of the massacre, local authorities resorted to the now common tactic of playing down its significance. “This continues to be violence between criminal groups,” said Jorge Domene, Nuevo Leon’s state security spokesman. “This is not an attack against the civilian population.” Yet authorities admitted the victims had not been identified, and may have been migrants attempting to cross into the United States. (AlJazeera, May 20; AP, May 19; AP, May 15; CNN, May 14)

The massacre came days after Mexican army troops detained 17 suspected Gulf Cartel members and a Cuban man who was allegedly providing them with weapons training in the Nuevo León town of China. On May 18, authorities announced the discovery of five clandestine mass graves in China, containing a yet to be determined number of bodies. (Sexenio, May 18;EFE, May 9)

Authorities are also investigating following the discovery of 15 dismembered bodies inside two vehicles on the highway between the cities of Guadalajara and Chapala in western Jalisco state, and suspect a connection with the kidnapping of 12 people in a nearby municipality, Coronado. (CNN, May 9) On May 19, federal police were ambushed by presumed Zeta gunmen on a highway near Concepción del Oro in Zacatecas. Army troops were called in, and a fierce gun-battle ensued, leaving presumed Zetas six dead. (SexenioSol de Zacatecas, May 19) On May 11, the Mexican navy announced the arrest of the the supposed top Zeta hitman for Veracruz state, Marcos Jesús Hernández Rodríguez, wanted in the torture-slaying of four marines who were kidnapped while returning from a training course in Xalapa, the state capital. (AP, May 11)

Finally in recent days, Mexico’s federal government appears to have launched a serious investigation of narco corruption within the armed forces. Tomás Ángeles Dauahare, sub-secretary of defense in the first two years of President Felipe Calderíon’s term in office, was detained for questioning May 18 at his home in Mexico City. He was brought by Military Judicial Police to the notorious Military Camp No. 1, and then turned over the federal Sub-prosecutor for Special Investigations in Organized Delinquency (SIEDO).

Also detained were two army officers, Gen. Ricardo Escorcia Vargas and Lt. Col. Silvio Isidro de Jesús Hernández Soto, who are reportedly being held by SIEDO on suspicion of ties to the Beltrán Leyva cartel. The officers have not been formally charged, but are being held under arraigos—special judicial orders that allow detention for questioning for up to 40 days. (ProcesoLa JornadaAP, May 19; AP, May 18)

See our last posts on Mexico and the narco wars.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.


  1. Sinaloa Cartel and the mexican government are one and the same.
    During a very recent conference, former Nuevo Leon governor Socrates Rizzo admitted that previous presidents had formalized agreements with drug cartel leaders to coordinate and protect Mexico’s lucrative drug trade.

    Read more here:

    Accusations of a “corrupt” Mexican government protecting certain cartels have been around for decades. Investigative reporters say they have solid evidence showing that authorities are going after other cartels, but not targeting the largest one which is the Sinaloa cartel.

    “There are no important detentions of Sinaloa cartel members, but the government is hunting down [Sinaloa’s] adversary groups and new players in the world of drug trafficking.“
    – Diego Osorno, an investigative journalist and the author of a book on the Sinaloa cartel published in 2009.

    Edgardo Buscaglia, a leading law professor in Mexico and an international organized crime expert, has analyzed 50,000 drug-related arrest documents dating back to 2003, and said that only a tiny fraction of the them were against Sinaloa members, and low-key ones at that.

    “Law enforcement [statistics] shows you objectively that the federal government has been hitting the weakest organized crime groups in Mexico.”

    “But they have not been hitting the main organized crime group, the Sinaloa Federation, that is responsible for 45 per cent of the drug trade in this country.”

    Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – one of the most wanted criminals in the world – runs the Sinaloa cartel. Arrested in Guatemala in the 1990s and transferred to a maximum security prison in Mexico, Guzman escaped in 2001 and has amassed a $1bn fortune by trafficking cocaine, heroine and meth to the US.

    “I work in the police and because of this I know the government is protecting Chapo Guzman. It’s hitting all the cartels but Chapo,”
    — Luis Arturo Perez Torres, 25, until recently a federal police officer stationed in a suburb of Mexico City.

    “The Calderon government has been fighting organized crime in many parts of the republic, but has not touched Sinaloa. I know this. I’m Sinaloan. My family lives in Sinaloa. It is like we’re trimming the branches of a tree, when we should be tearing it out by the roots.”
    — Manuel Clouthier, a congressman from Sinaloa state and a member of Calderon’s own political party.

  2. Chapo Guzmán Internet meme
    This quote from fugitive Sinaloa Cartel jefe máximo Joaquin Guzmán AKA “El Chapo” has gone viral among anti-prohibitionists. But it seems to have originated with Huffington Post on March 26, not a Mexican publication—and writer David Henry Sterry doesn’t give his source…

    Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera reported head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, ranked 701st on Forbes’ yearly report of the wealthiest men alive, and worth an estimated $1 billion, today officially thanked United States politicians for making sure that drugs remain illegal. According to one of his closest confidants, he said, “I couldn’t have gotten so stinking rich without George Bush, George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, even El Presidente Obama, none of them have the cajones to stand up to all the big money that wants to keep this stuff illegal. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, Gracias amigos, I owe my whole empire to you.”

    Source please, David?

    1. Chapo Guzmán can’t spell?
      We just noticed that the Mexican slang word cojones (testicles) is mis-spelled in Sterry’s quote, which makes us even more certain that he invented it. Is anybody watching the shop at Huff Post?

      David…? Ariana…?

      1. The slang for testicles,
        The slang for testicles, “Cojones” is used in Spain. “Huevos” is used in Mexico. The word “huevos” literally mens “eggs”. Both words are equivalent to “nuts” or “jewels” as slang for testicles.