LeBarón and Ciudad Juárez attacks: the rise of four Mexican drug cartels

Four criminal organizations are becoming increasingly powerful in northern Mexico after events such as the murder of nine LeBarón family members and the violent attacks in Ciudad Juárez

LeBarón and Ciudad Juárez attacks: the rise of four Mexican drug cartels
A bullet-riddled vehicle that members of LeBaron family were traveling in sits parked on a dirt road near Bavispe – Photo: Christian Chavez/AP
English 08/11/2019 15:26 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 15:39
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After events such as the one from last Monday, in which nine LeBarón family members were killed in Mexico due to a land dispute in the limits of Sonora and Chihuahua, in addition to other violent acts in Ciudad Juárez, four Mexican drug cartels are becoming increasingly powerful in northern Mexico.

This violence wave is attributed to criminal groups such as La Línea, who are pointed out as the alleged responsibles of what happened to the LeBarón family, and, nearby to the area, are Los Salazar, Los Mexicles, and Gente Nueva, all of them part of different organized crime networks.

A treason inside Juárez Cartel made La Línea stop being the armed branch of that criminal group. Now, the National Defense Ministry identified the criminal organization as the probable suspect of the assassination of nine members of the LeBarón and Langford families in Bavispe, Sonora.

Currently, in Ciudad Juárez, the armed branches of La Línea are made up of two gangs: Los Mexicles and Los Aztecas. In the capital of Chihuahua, only Los Aztecas work for the New Juárez Cartel (NCDJ).

NCDJ was founded by Juan Pablo Ledezma Rodríguez “El JL” and financed by the founder and leader of Juárez Cartel, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes “El Viceroy” and is led by Jesús Salas Aguayo “El Chuyín,” who is imprisoned in Ciudad Juárez.

La Línea and/or NCDJ are mainly present in Ciudad Juárez and in municipalities bordering Sonora. Their arch-enemy is the Sinaloa Cartel.

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In 2017, NCDJ caught the attention of authorities when it started to recruit young women who were sent to the U.S. as drug mules and sexually exploited, which caused concerns.

The main rival of La Línea are Los Salazar, who serve the sons of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

They are considered the armed branch of the Sinaloa Cartel, and they have been moving for over 10 years between the limits of Sonora and Chihuahua, where they maintain a bloody dispute with La Línea over the control of the border with Arizona for opioid smuggling into the U.S.

The Salazar family is from the municipality of Chínipas, Chihuahua and the group is headed by Crispín Salazar Zamorano, identified by the federal government as the main operator of the Sinaloa Cartel in the Sonora border with Arizona and New Mexico, and who controls the drug corridor in the Sonora-U.S. border.

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In recent months, they have been known for murdering and burning out the houses of its victims, such as the case that took place in September in the municipality of Empalme, Sonora, where after kidnapping a person they started a fire on his house with two children inside, one of whom died.

The criminal group Los Mexicles is gaining relevance since it carried out the different attacks in Ciudad Juárez to distract authorities after an operation on Wednesday in the prison, leaving 10 dead, six injured, and 15 burnt-out-vehicles.

The series of attacks in Ciudad Juárez was attributed to this criminal group; authorities informed that, after the attack, the group was identified and an investigation file was opened for “damages and attacks against public peace,” which is punished with sentences of up to 30 years in prison.

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Gente Nueva
Another criminal group in the region is the one headed by Francisco Arvizu “El Jaguar” leader of Gente Nueva, which operates in Agua Prieta, Sonora, very close to the place where the LeBarón family members were murdered.

Sources point out Martín Encinas, El Jaguar’s collaborator, as the perpetrator of the attack.

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