Sinaloa Cartel's macabre plan

El Chapo's trial, taking place in New York, is being kept under wraps and amid extreme security measures

Sinaloa Cartel's macabre plan
El Chapo was arrested in 2016- Photo: Marco Ugarte/EL UNIVERSAL
English 13/11/2018 14:59 AFP Mexico City Actualizada 15:03
Guardando favorito...

Leer en español

In the dark, behind the scenes of the spectacular trial against “El Chapo” Guzmán in New York, his hegemonic Sinaloa cartel is scheming a new move in Mexico: after defeating its powerful rival cartel, Jalisco Nueva Generación...they could now ally.

The spotlight is on the biggest drug dealing trial in the history of the U.S., that will decide if Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, considered as the most dangerous drug lord in the world, is guilty of shipping 155 tons of cocaine to the U.S., an operation carried out during 25 years, possession of weapons, and money laundering.

The co-founder of the international Sinaloa Cartel, “El Chapo”, who is 61 years old, could get sentenced to life in prison.

But the master of smokescreens, the protagonist of two spectacular escapes from maximum security prisons in Mexico, could have an ace up his sleeve, far away from this multi-million dollar trial, which is developing under extreme secrecy and safety measures.

“The arrest and extradition of Guzmán were good for Mexican justice and the U.S., but in reality, it's more symbolic because the Sinaloa cartel still is the most important cartel in the world,” said Mike Vigil, the DEA's former Chief of International Operations. He also explained that its power is possible thanks to Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada,'s leadership, who is the cartel's co-founder.

Javier Oliva, an expert on security and defense issues from the UNAM, agrees that “this trial seems more like a spectacle than something deeper.”

And while they don't carry out “the audit of money, trials aren't very useful. The wife, the children, the accomplices can still use the dozens of millions of dollars the criminal left behind,” he said.

Sinaloa moves its pawns

Although the extradition of “El Chapo” weakens the power of the Sinaloa cartel, the DEA claims that “they still have the biggest dominance over the U.S.”, while the rival that is just behind them is the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel (CJNG), “has expanded their presence significantly in the last years.”

Raúl Benítez Manaut, from the UNAM's Research Center about North America, explains that “El Chapo's children are spoiled that have never worked in their lives and don't know how to work in that business,” Zambada has been able to take over the Sinaloa cartel.

In contrast, the CJNG, led by Nemesio Oseguera, also known as “El Mencho”, is going through an internal war, which has greatly weaken the alarming advance it achieved through extreme violence and a frightening arsenal that brought down a military helicopter.

Carlos Enrique Sánchez, “El Cholo”, was El Mencho's right hand, is conspiring to take over the bloody cartel, claims Vigil.

Sánchez has allied with the Sinaloa cartel, which is supporting him with money and gunmen to fight El Mencho and then if he becomes the leader, it is going to ally with the Sinaloa cartel. They will have to do it to be able to survive,” he explains.

During this internal war, the Sinaloa cartel will take advantage and take its rival's territory. That way, no matter what happens between “El Mencho” and "El Cholo”, it will benefit the Sinaloa cartel,” explains Vigil

Zen drug lord

El Chapo's wife, Emma Coronel, a 29-year-old beauty queen who has attended most of the hearings in New York, is Ignacio Coronel's niece, a clever drug lord that helped the Sinaloa cartel's empire to prosper in Jalisco.

Taking advantage of his death in 2010, El Mencho, the biggest enemy of El Chapo's cartel, usurped Coronel's position.

If El Cholo accomplishes his mission of dominating the CJNG, “it would be a reintegration of the group from Jalisco to the main organization, which is the Sinaloa cartel,” explained Oliva.

Without a doubt, the Sinaloa cartel will take advantage of the structural weaknesses of the CJNG: the terror El Mencho generates and that by increasing the number of homicides in Jalisco, it incites the persecution by federal forces, as well as its pyramidal hierarchy.

“El Mencho controls everything, it's only one person (…) If they arrest him it would be a hard blow” for the cartel, explains Vigil.

On the contrary, Zambada is known for being a cool head businessman, more than a gunman. Besides, his business “has a horizontal organization, like McDonald's,” that is with independent subsidiaries in over 40 countries, that won't be affected by the arrest of the current leader, says Vigil.

Zambada, who is in his 70s, “is a really intelligent man, very capable, who has been involved in drug dealing his whole life and has never spent one day in jail,” thanks to, unlike El Chapo, his low profile, he never leaves the mountains, explains the expert.

From his throne, Zambada is moving his chess pieces.

“They can arrest me any day...or never,” challenged the drug lord in 2010, during an unusual interview with Proceso.

Guardando favorito...

Noticias según tus intereses

El Universal

Las Indispensables

Termina tu día bien informado con las notas más relevantes con este newsletter

Al registrarme acepto los términos y condiciones