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Expert: Sinaloa Cartel civil war to replace ‘El Chapo’ prompted recent escape of five capos from Mexican prison

March 26, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Expert: Sinaloa Cartel civil war to replace ‘El Chapo’ prompted recent escape of five capos from Mexican prison

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Raging violence, brazen gunbattles, and lawlessness committed with the ultimate impunity by organized crime groups assisted by a complicit and corrupt authority describe the current situation in Sinaloa, Mexico, which has been labeled by many security experts a failed narco-state.

The residents of Sinaloa have continued to live in terror as the region has experienced a violent uprising following the arrest and subsequent extradition of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, the world’s most powerful transnational criminal organization to the United States

The lack of the rule of law took center stage last week after five of the most wanted organized crime members in Mexico escaped a correctional facility in the state’s capital of Culiacan last week.

 Fourteen officials  at the Culiacan prison where the five high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel escaped in recent weeks have been dismissed

Details of the jailbreak remain scarce. However, information has surfaced regarding how the five criminals still operated freely while behind bars: conducting drug deals, managing their illegal operations, enjoying luxuries such as spacious cells with plasma T.V.s, access to cocaine, marijuana, and prostitutes, all with the complicity of corrupt prison officials.

Among the fugitives to flee the prison include Juan José Esparragoza Monzón, “El Azulito” a Sinaloa Cartel financial operator and the son of kingpin Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, alias ‘El Azul’ a man who was once trusted by Chapo Guzman.

‘El Azul’ was rumored to have died in 2014. However, law enforcement officials and journalists have cast a shadow of doubt over his supposed death.

Esparragoza Monzón, who was arrested in Culiacan back in January, was fighting extradition to the United States where he faces a pair of criminal indictments when he fled the prison.

According to the Culiacan -based newspaper, El Debate, the inmates operated with such brazenness that Monzón even threw a farewell party before escaping the detention center.

Juan José Esparragoza Monzón, “El Azulito”

Monzón escaped along with Alfonso Limón Sánchez ‘El Limón,’ and Francisco Javier Zazueta Rosales, “El Pancho Chimal,”leader of assassins of Aureliano Guzman Salazar, and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar, ‘El Chapo’s half brother and son respectively.

Mexican authorities have accused Rosales of orchestrating the Sept 2016 deadly ambush on a military convoy in Culiacan that killed five soldiers.

The three men were joined in their escape by Jesús Peña González, “El 20”; Rafael Guadalupe Félix Núñez, both top collaborators of Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, the Sinaloa Cartel’s top leader.

The scandal has so far resulted in the suspension and possible prosecution of 14 officials within the prison chain of command includes the director of the facility.

In an interview with El Debate, award-winning Mexican journalist, writer, and expert on the Mexican drug trade, Anabel Hernández, spoke of the issues related to the criminal group, referring to Sinaloa as a state in which drug trafficking commands the obscurity of the authorities.

“No doubt, Sinaloa is a narco-state. It is unheard of for members of organized crime to be shot in the street in broad daylight in and around the important cities of the state.”

“The actions of the Army or other police corporations means that there is an agreement with the authorities, allowing a criminal group to operate freely,” says Hernandez.

Acclaimed Mexican journalist Annabelle Hernandez

“It is regrettable that the Cartel of Sinaloa has the state like its park in which can get to do what he wants without anyone saying anything,” she added.

Officials have attributed the recent outbreak of violence in the region to a power struggle between the sons of ‘El Chapo’ who are fighting to fill the void left by their father’s abrupt extradition in January against  Damaso Lopez Nunez, ‘El Licenciado,’ who heads a powerful Sinaloa faction.

As Guzman’s lieutenant, Lopez Nunez assumed command of criminal operations at the behest of ‘El Chapo’ following his arrest in 2014, negotiating deals with South American suppliers and helping expand the Sinaloa Cartel’s areas of influence and reach into foreign drug markets.

Authorities have attributed the surge in the murder rate in Mexico since the beginning of the year to the fight for power within the criminal infrastructure.

Culiacán now ranks 17th among the most violent cities in the world, according to a study conducted by the Civil Organization for Security, Justice, and Peace.

Five fugitive capos pictured from left to right: Monzón, Francisco Javier Zazueta Rosales, “El Pancho Chimal,” Alfonso Limón Sánchez, ‘El Limón,’ Jesús Peña González, “El 20”; Rafael Guadalupe Félix Núñez, “El Changuito Anthrax”

The terrifying climate has evolved in brutal fashion in the municipality of Villa Juárez Navolato, where residents have opted not to open businesses or take their children to school, due to the continuous threat of violence from the warring cartel factions.

The current presence of armed groups circulating in the streets of the community remains constant where brazen attacks in broad daylight have transformed the area into a war zone.
The strife has already resulted in an untold number of deaths, including innocent victims.

Adding to the plot is the escape of the five prisoners from the Culiacan prison, who before their capture led cells of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The addition of the five capos generates concern and uncertainty for Hernández.

“It should be understood the escape of these criminals, of course, had the participation and complicity of the authorities,” Hernandez says. “The profile of these criminals remains clear; they left the prison to enter the fight for the factions of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

Damaso Lopez Nunez and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar are fighting for control of the Sinaloa criminal organization

As a result, the journalist indicated she expects violence to escalate further with the escape of the five dangerous operatives.

“It should be remembered Rafael Félix, alias ‘El Chaguito Anthrax” one of the fugitives, was in charge of the group Los Anthrax, one of the most violent cells in the country, which means that his escape is in line with the fight, which could provoke an increase in violence in the entity,” Hernandez said.

“The whole context of this war of the Sinaloa cartel has us intrigued. The escape of these subjects, which I repeat that had to be with the collusion of prison officials, means they intend to be integrated into the fight.,” she stated.

The author of Los Señores del Narco expressed uncertainty as to which group each of the operators will render their services to now that they are back on the streets.

“Questions remain,” says Hernandez. “Who are they going to join in the war? On the part of the children of Chapo or Dámaso López?” I believe the answer remains with who at the moment, holds the threads of the criminal organization.”

Content from El Debate and translated by JammedUp News

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