Juarez Journalist Reports the Sinaloa Cartel is Winning in Juarez

September 26, 2009

“We’re witnessing the extermination of the Juárez cartel,” said Alfredo Quijano, editor of the Norte de Ciudad Juárez newspaper and an authority on the war between the entrenched Juárez cartel and the rival Sinaloa cartel. “The Linea, or Juárez cartel, is down to its last line of defense.”

Sinaloa hit men, he said, are “killing people at will, hitting them like sitting ducks.”

August set a record for killings in Juárez, across the border from El Paso, with more than 300 deaths, raising the city’s total for the year to about 1,500.

Joaquin Guzman started this war, and he may win it. It makes sense. Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel are just too strong. Sinaloa controls most of the pacific coast, and thus the influx of cocaine and materials to make methamphetamine by sea from South America and Asia. The Juarez cartel, controlling only the city for sure, has a far less developed network for acquiring and distributing drugs, especially with the days of Amado Carrillo’s reign long past. Those connections have dried up, many of the old guard are in jail or dead. The Juarez cartel simply isn’t as strong and consolidated a force as it once was.

A U.S. investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity, generally agreed with Quijano’s assessment but cautioned: “We’re a ways off from declaring one group the winner. For now, I’d say the Sinaloa cartel clearly has the upper hand.”

The 18 people people killed in a drug rehab center a couple weeks ago were supposed to be all La Linea or Los Aztecas (street gang associated with La Linea) members trying to hide out because they are on the run. The gunmen, 5 of which were just arrested today, are all from Sinaloa.

It’s odd because Amado Carillo, who like most drug traffickers in Mexico was actually originally from Sinaloa, ran the Juarez cartel as an outsider, but it grew over two decades into a very local, very tight group. But now the city will be controlled by outsiders. It’s just nuts how far-reaching the Sinaloa empire is. They control everything, it might turn into the hegemony Chapo obviously dreams of after all.

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