#Narconoia Update: Apr. 18, 2014

Danny Benavides
April 18, 2014


This week in Narconoia…

Fractured vigilante groups and government officials are trying to reach an agreement in Michoacan: a quid pro quo involving the release of about 100 vigilante members detained by federal police, registration of autodefensas under a Rural Defense Corps answering to the command of the Mexican military, a “demobilization” (but not a “disarmament”) of the vigilantes, and continued cooperation to complete the purging of Los Caballeros Templarios and affiliated organized crime groups from the state. Meanwhile, more political officials face charges of conspiring with Templarios, the “owner” of the cartel is revealed, and “La Tuta” remains at-large.

In south Texas, the scandal which began as a a few bad apples in the so-called “Panama Unit” in Hidalgo County finally brings down the long-suspected county Sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño and his top commander Jose Padilla. The law-enforcement chiefs stand guilty of accepting bribes from the Gulf Cartel to allow for access to the trafficking corridor through Reynosa/McAllen.

Also, the Beltran Leyva Organization’s #2 is arrested, Gulf Cartel infighting continues just south of the border, analyses of the Sinaloa federation following Chapo Guzman’s capture, and much more.


Tension in Michoacan, and the reach of its organized crime

Mexican ‘self-defense’ group demands government free prisoners via Tracy Wilkinson @ The Los Angeles Times

Trying to combat growing drug trade in oil patch via Sharon Cohen @ The Salt Lake Tribune

Vigilantes clash with cartel gunmen in western Mexico @ EFE/Fox News Latino [closing in on Servando "La Tuta" Gómez Martínez]

“El Migueladas”: Godfather of Godfathers via Anabel Hernández @ Proceso/Mexico Voices [...who indeed is behind the chaos in Michoacán? A must-read!]

Attempt to Reconcile Self-Defense Groups Fails via Arturo Cano @ La Jornada/Mexico Voices [translated by Ruby Izar-Shea]

Massive Mexico Illegal Wood Seizure Sign of Criminal Diversity via Mimi Yagoub @ InSight Crime [Guillermo and I discussed this a bit during our recent discussion on TOR Radio]

Vigilantes to disarm in Mexico’s Michoacan state via Tracy Wilkinson and Cecilia Sanchez @ [good article, but a misleading headline]

Self-Defense Leaders Explain Agreement With Government via Arturo Cano @ La Jornada/Mexico Voices [translated by Jane Brundage]

17 Self-Defense Members Charged with “Terrorism” @ Aristegui Noticias/Mexico Voices [translated by Sally Seward]

Uncertainty Swirls Around Mexico Vigilantes Disarmament ‘Agreement’ via Armando Córdoba and Seth Robbins @ InSight Crime

Will this deal solve Mexico’s vigilante problem? via Ioan Grillo @ Global Post [excellent reporting and recommended reading!]

Smugglers who held 115 people captive plead guilty via Dane Schiller @ Houston Chronicle

Mexican authorities arrest mayor for helping a drug gang extort city council members via Lizbeth Diaz @ Reuters/Global Post

Chayo’s Nephew: Apatzingán Mayor Uriel Mendoza Arrested for Extortion via Chivís Martínez @ Borderland Beat

Who Are the Terrorists, The Knights Templar or the Self-Defense Groups? via José Gil Olmos @ Proceso/Mexico Voices [translated by Janine Rhyans]

Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel

The Narco of Narcos: A Profile of Fugitive Mexican Druglord Rafael Caro-Quintero via Malcolm Beith @ Combating Terrorism Center [a great read from last month, lots of narco-history]

Why aren’t we putting US agencies on trial for financing El Chapo’s drug war? via Gabriel Matthew Schivone @ The Guardian [Answer: impunity]

Zambada Niebla’s Plea Deal, Chapo Guzman’s Capture May Be Key To An Unfolding Mexican Purge via Bill Conroy @ Narco News [Conroy is on-point as always]

Analyst: Sinaloa cartel losing power in Juárez via Lorena Figueroa @ The El Paso Times

Upset About A Controversial Narco Deal, Mexico Reaffirms It Will Not Extradite Drug Kingpin El Chapo Guzmán To The U.S. via Dolia Estevez @ Forbes

Violent disunity in the Gulf Cartel, Beltran Leyva Organization’s second-in-command captured

Cartel clashes in Tamaulipas boost concerns ahead of Semana Santa via Ildefonso Ortiz @ The Monitor

Cartel violence ramps up in Mexican border state of Tamaulipas via Alfredo Corchado @ Dallas Morning News

Cartel Truce Is Broken via Mireya Cuéllar @ La Jornada/Mexico Voices [translated by Jane Brundage]

Beltran Leyva cartel figure and a Michoacan mayor arrested in Mexico via Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez @ The Los Angeles Times

Beltran-Leyva gang: No. 2 in Mexican drug cartel captured @ Associated Press/The Christian Science Monitor

Law-enforcement corruption in Miami-Dade and Hidalgo County

Miami-Dade cop accused of smuggling cocaine gets $500,000 bond via Jay Weaver @ Miami Herald

Former Sheriff Lupe Treviño Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering via Melissa del Bosque @ The Texas Observer

Former Sheriff Treviño: ‘I plead guilty, your honor’ via Ildefonso Ortiz @ The Monitor [features a comprehensive timeline, as well]

Border Corruption Back in Focus After Guilty Plea via Julián Aguilar @ The Texas Tribune

Former sheriff’s commander pleads guilty to bribery via Ildefonso Ortiz @ The Monitor

The borderland battlefield and Mexico’s narco-politics

Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border via Julia Preston @ The New York Times

New RGV Border Patrol chief to look to fight for more resources via Ildefonso Ortiz @ The Monitor

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto slumps in polls despite policy wins via Nick Miroff @ The Washington Post

Even the 99 percent get kidnapped in Mexico via Dudley Althaus @ Global Post

Mexico’s crime after the cartel squeeze via Sandra Dibble @ The San Diego Union-Tribune

I-35: A major artery to the nation’s drug trade via K. Mennem @ Hell On Earth blog

Border Patrol catches more than 80 immigrants hiding in huts in McAllen via Jared Taylor @ The Monitor


Hidalgo County corruption: Sheriff Guadalupe "Lupe" Treviño (center), his chief of staff Maria Patricia Medina (left), and Cmdr. Jose Padilla (right) involved in accepting and laundering drug cartel bribes.

Hidalgo County corruption: Sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño (center), his chief of staff Maria Patricia Medina (left), and Cmdr. Jose Padilla (right) involved in accepting and laundering drug cartel bribes.