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In 1989, prodded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which furnished the Mexican government with intelligence about his activities and whereabouts, Mexican Federal Judicial Police arrested Félix Gallardo in his home. For a time, he was able to oversee his operation by mobile phone from prison, but as key men in his organization began to jockey for the top position, he brokered an arrangement by which the emerging rivals divided up the major trade routes among themselves, thus giving birth to the four major cartels—Gulf, Sinaloa, Juárez, and Tijuana—that dominated the Mexican drug trade for more than two decades. In recent years, inter-gang rivalry, internal division, and the rise of new organizations have contributed to violence that has reached dramatic proportions.

The Gulf cartel, directed from Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, and operating in the states along the eastern (Gulf) coast of Mexico and under South Texas, was first headed by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra, who had risen to wealth and power by smuggling whiskey

into Texas during Prohibition. He was succeeded by several men, the most notorious of whom was Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, who was arrested by Mexican forces in 2003 and extradited to the United States in 2007 by the government of President Felipe Calderón.

In the 1990s, the Gulf organization was joined by a group of Mexican army commandos who deserted to seek a more rewarding life of crime. Known as Los Zetas and since enlarged by new recruits, they have become notorious for their extreme brutality and brazen ways, but also for operations that reflect strategic planning and long-term aspirations. With Cárdenas out of the way, the Zetas first increased their clout within the organization to the point that analysts often referred to the gang as the Gulf/Zetas. Led by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, they subsequently drew away from the Gulf faction, with an apparently final break in early 2010, wrested control of substantial portions of Gulf’s territory, and extended their own reach deep into Guatemala. They have also formed alliances with other cartels or factions to fight common enemies, including their former compadres.

The Sinaloa cartel, ensconced in the western region that still produces most of the marijuana and opium grown in Mexico and perhaps the most powerful of the cartels, is headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” (“Shorty”) Guzman. A key faction led by five Beltrán-Leyva brothers broke away from Guzman to become an important independent group, working in recent years with the Zetas. The arrest of two of the brothers, the death of a third at the hands of the Mexican military, and the arrest of another key leader have left the Beltrán-Leyva gang in a weakened state. In July 2010, Mexican troops killed Ignacio Coronel Villareal, one of Guzman’s closest associates, posing a potential threat to the Sinaloa gang’s stability as well.

The Juárez cartel was originally led by another powerful Sinaloan, Amado Carrillo Fuentes. After he died during plastic surgery intended to alter his appearance to foil authorities, the leadership fell to his brother, Vincent Carrillo Fuentes. Most of the murderous violence that has wracked Ciudad Juárez in recent years has stemmed from the efforts of this group to repel the Sinaloan cartel’s attempts to gain control of valuable cross–border smuggling routes and, more recently, the drug traffic in Juárez itself.

Félix Gallardo ceded control of northwest Mexico to his seven nephews and four nieces of the Arellano Félix family, based in Tijuana, with direct access to the rich California market. Once enormously powerful and violent, the Tijuana operation has been weakened by the death or imprisonment of all the brothers and other key figures and may have lost its grip on Baja California.

In response to developments such as the death, imprisonment, or extradition of dominant figures, other organizations continue to arise to vie for power and wealth. One of the most successful of these is La Familia, based in the state of Michoacan and notorious both for horrendous attention-grabbing violence—for example, rolling heads of victims onto dance floors—and incongruous profession of a form of fundamentalist Christianity.

Smaller organizations exist, often forming alliances of conveniences with each other and the major cartels. These and internal rivalries within the larger organizations, as well as successful efforts by military and law enforcement agencies, make it difficult to sketch the situation with a sure hand. The rise of these smaller bands may be a temporary phase or it may signal the future situation, with more groups fighting over a market variously perceived as shrinking or limitless.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, Cartels, corruption, carnage, and cooperation. OpenStax CNX. May 23, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11293/1.2
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