#Narconoia Update: Mar. 6, 2014

Danny Benavides
Traces of Reality
March 6, 2014


Since the arrest of El Chapo on February 22, the facts of the operation and the lead-up to it have come into better focus. My own piece here on TOR, Mexico’s Bin Laden: The Capture of Chapo Guzman Provides Illusory Victory in the Narcowar contains a few errors which I can attribute to my own lack of due diligence and the “fog of war” in the media following the spectacle. With this in mind, I especially encourage you all to read the first two links posted below to better understand what actually went down and some possible reasons why it went down in such a manner.

El Chapo’s capture continues to make headlines

The Kingpin at Rest via Alma Guillermoprieto @ The New York Review of Books

Operation Gargoyle: Pursuit, capture and confessions of El Chapo via Carlos Loret de Mola Fuente @ Primero Noticias (Televisa) [translated and posted to Borderland Beat, with half-hour news report embedded]

Sinaloa Cartel Succession in Mexico: More Political Intrigue than Violence via David C. Martínez-Amador and Steven Dudley @ InSightCrime

Hundreds in Mexico march in support of captured drug lord Guzman via Tracy Wilkinson @ Los Angeles Times

On drug lord’s Mexican turf, lines blur among cops, pols, cartel via Tim Johnson @ McClatchy News [great article, recommended]

‘Chapo’ Guzman had role in the ‘Kiki’ Camarena conspiracy, ex-DEA official says via Diane Washington Valdez @ El Paso Times [an extremely important story in light of recent developments]

Narco-Villain “El Chapo’s” Arrest Packaged for Media Consumption via Bill Conroy @ NarcoNews [another crucial report from Conroy that compliments and adds much to the EPT link above]

Shorty’s lessons: 5 things ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s arrest teaches us via Dudley Althaus @ Global Post

Sinaloa cartel uses street gangs as U.S. franchises via Dan Freedman @ The Salt Lake Tribune

Drug cartel’s ‘The Doctor’ helped run Chicago operation via Frank Main @ Chicago Sun-Times

Chapo’s Rise: From poor, abused to cartel kingpin via Alicia A. Caldwell, Elliot Spagat, Jacques Billeaud and Michael Weissenstein @ Associated Press [a long-ish read, but lots of background]

How to Reach New Criminal-Political Equilibrium in Mexico’s Post-’Chapo’ Vacuum via Dudley Althaus @ InSightCrime [what will become of Mexico's "Pax Mafiosa?"]

Threatened by Chapo: former Nuevo Laredo mayor Benjamín Galván kidnapped via “Chivis” Martínez” @ Borderland Beat [although not yet claimed by the Sinaloa Cartel, a suspicious and gruesome murder]

Will Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera be tried in Mexico or the United States? via Malcolm Beith @ Small Wars Journal

New Poll: More Than Half Of Mexicans Think Drug Lord El Chapo Guzmán Is More Powerful Than The Mexican Government via Dolia Estevez @ Forbes [funny, I expressed a similar viewpoint on Twitter as I first read about Chapo's capture]

The Drug War’s Theater of the Absurd: El Chapo Guzmán’s Arrest via Guillermo Jimenez @ PanAmerican Post [always fantastic and consise columns from TOR's editor and founder]

News from the Constitution-Free Zone

The NSA Has Set Up Shop at the US Embassy in Mexico via Jason Louv @ Vice News

Proposed $60M border security surge pushed back via AP @ The Monitor ["border surge" experiences a minor setback during elections]

Elbit to build surveillance towers on Arizona’s border with Mexico via Yaakov Laapin @ The Jerusalem Post [that "surge" continues apace elsewhere along the borderland battlefield with a company founded by vets of Unit 8200, "Israel's NSA"]

Suspicionless Searches at the US Border: A Growing Problem for Press Freedom via Trevor Timm @ Freedom of the Press Foundation

US Border Patrol Insists on Secrecy for Agents Who Kill People on Mexican Side of Border via Kevin Gosztola @ FireDogLake

Arizona Border Town Sits Atop 100 Narco-Tunnels @ Latin American Herald Tribune

Records: Former sheriff’s commander expected to plead ‘guilty’ via Sergio Chapa @ Valley Central

Mexican Protest Site Censored by GoDaddy — with the U.S. Embassy’s Help via Danny O’Brien @ Electronic Frontier Foundation

Carnegie Mellon’s Paul Eiss Analyzes How the Internet and Social Media Have Shaped the ‘Drug War’ in Mexico via Shilo Rea @ Carnegie Mellon University News

L.A. Sureños Gangbangers, fighting alongside the Siria regime via “Chivis” Martínez @ Borderland Beat [the details and analysis provided herein are much more robust than my $0.02 posted here earlier]

Christian cult leader worked Tampa “BLACK ICE” Operation via Daniel Hopsicker @ Mad Cow Morning News

Zeta member ‘El Taliban’ set to appear in court via Ildefonso Ortiz @ The Monitor

More madness in Michoacan

Immigrants in U.S. sending money to fight Mexican cartels via Alfredo Corchado @ Dallas Morning News

Michoacán, el mapa de la violencia @ Milenio [Spanish language, but infographics show territories secured by autodefensas]

Ditching the Cartel for the Militia: Switching Sides in Mexico’s Drug War via Manuel Rueda @ Fusion

Tumbicastío, Michoacán Autodefensas and Special Forces: Closing in on El Chayo and La Tuta via “Chivis” Martínez @ Borderland Beat

Apatzingán Michoacán: autodefensas and supporters enter city hall demand resignation of mayor via “Chivis” Martínez @ Borderland Beat

Apatzingán Michoacán: murdered family of 13 located in narco fosa via “Chivis” Martínez @ Borderland Beat [Chivis is a paragon, BB is always essential reading]

Mexico Targets Gang That Infiltrated the Mining Industry via Paulina Villegas @ The New York Times

La Tuta’s son arrested via “Chivis” Martínez @ Borderland Beat [the noose continues to close in around the Templarios]

I highly recommend watching this 20-minute video of Michoacán pastor Pedro Preciado Sanchez’s astounding story (it’s subtitled, by the way). He and his family endured a horrific ordeal with a group of Caballeros Templarios where he was forced at gunpoint to assist the cartel members, had the lives of him and his family threatened, but fortunately lived to tell his tale. This provides a small glimpse of the reality that people south of the Rio Grande face far too often.


One last thing for this week’s #Narconoia update: Below is a map showing the location of Chapo Guzmán Loera at the Torre Miramar in Mazatlán, Sinaloa where he was captured (as part of “Operación Gárgola,” or “Operation Gargoyle”) on February 22, 2014. The endpoint on this map is the site of the local Policía Federal Ministerial, the federal law enforcement agency under the command of the Attorney General’s office.


And here is another map of Osama bin Laden’s alleged location of his alleged assassination (dubbed Operation Neptune Spear) on May 2, 2011 in Abbottobad, Pakistan. The endpoint on this map is the Pakistan Military Academy.


That’s just an odd coincidence I wanted to point out. It always seems like the world’s boogeyman retreat to quarters within a stone’s throw of the forces tasked to eliminate them.