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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

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.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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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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