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Government Report: Ten cells engaged in Sinaloa Cartel fight in Mexico

July 12, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Government Report: Ten cells engaged in Sinaloa Cartel fight in Mexico

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There are concerns among senior Mexican government officials that the bloodshed in the state of Sinaloa could become even worse as power struggles intensify within the Sinaloa Cartel, also referred to as the Pacific Cartel, Blood Alliance, and the Sinaloa Federation.

At least ten cells of the notorious criminal organization are involved in internal conflicts in an attempt to expand their control within the cartel, a report from the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) indicated.

The violence has contributed to the highest homicide rate in the state in years.

Cartel infighting escalated after the arrest of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in 2016 and intensified further after his extradition to the U.S. in January.

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’  Guzman after was extradited to New York back on January 19th

The National Center for Planning, Analysis, and Information for Combating Crime (Cenapi) — a department of the PGR — published a report in May revealing that the ten cells are currently operating in nine states.

According to Mexico News Daily, officials say fighting over the leadership of the different cells, has caused an escalation in violence in Sinaloa and throughout the rest of the country.

Mexico’s Senate President Pablo Escudero Morales warned that the violence was going to worsen as the battle for control of the powerful criminal organization heats up.

Ivan Archivaldo and Jesus Alfredo Guzman-Salazar, the sons of ‘El Chapo’

The sons of “El Chapo,” also known as “Los Chapitos” (The little Chapos) as well as Guzmán’s brother Aureliano Guzmán Loera, known as “El Guano,” are trying to establish their influence within cartel’s leadership structure.

Following the arrest of the kingpin, a struggle immediately erupted between the sons of “El Chapo,” “El Guano,” and Damaso Lopez Nunez, also known as “El Licenciado,” the leader of Los Damasos, a powerful cartel faction who many considered to be Guzman’s successor.

However, security experts say after the capture of Lopez Nunez near Mexico City on May 2nd, his son, a young narco-junior named Dámaso López Serrano, also known as “Mini Lic”, has since assumed control of Los Damasos.

Sinaloa Cartel boss Damaso Lopez Nunez,”El Licenciado” Pictured left, during his arrest on May 2nd and his son Damaso Lopez Serrano, ‘El Mini Lic’ 

Further complicating the organized crime landscape are reports suggesting some cells including Los Damaso may have entered into pacts with the Sinaloa Cartel’s main rival, the ultra-violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel also known as the CJNG.

As JammedUp News previously reported, narco mantas (messages left by cartels on poster boards to the public) recently left in in the strife-ridden state of Michoacan announced an alliance between the Los Antrax, a Sinaloa Cartel para-military enforcer group and the CJNG.

The internal war has led to an increase in killings within the group, whose supreme leader is Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

Bodies of cartel hitmen remain after a fierce gunbattle near Culiacan earlier this year

The PGR report also added that El Chapo’s sons and brother had violated agreements and tried to take over the group after El Chapo’s arrest and extradition, another circumstance contributing to the increased violence.

In early 2017, an official from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime added that Zambada’s participation in mediating internal disputes would be necessary because younger generation drug lords “are not willing to find solutions through negotiations and want to fight.”

However, given the recent increase in violent battles, Zambada’s success in that role is dubious.

The ten cells referred to in the PGR report and the states where they work are:

• Gente Nueva (The New People): Chihuahua and Sinaloa.

• Los Cabrera: Durango and Chihuahua.

• Cártel del Poniente (aka La Laguna and Los Bardales): Durango and Coahuila.

• El Aquiles and El Tigre: Baja California.

• El 28: Baja California Sur.

• Los Salazar and Los Memos: Sonora.

• Los Artistas Asesinos and Los Mexicles: Chihuahua.

Some of the groups are led by Zambada while others are dominated by “Los Chapitos” or “Mini Lic.”

Milenio added four additional cells to the ones discussed by the PGR: the previously mentioned Los Ántrax, headed by “El Mayo Zambada, while Los Chapitos control an armed cell called Los Chimalis.

Meanwhile “Mini Lic” heads Los Dámasos and Los Montana.

The violence in Sinaloa has continued to escalate which has correlated in a surge in homicides in the Sinaloa state

A similar power struggle occurred between competing factions after the apprehended of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva in 2008.

Other Beltrán Leyva brothers fought with El Chapo, whom they accused of betrayal, and the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel then ended its ties with the Sinaloa Cartel.

At least 30 killings were attributed to cartel violence in Sinaloa this past weekend with 19 gang members murdered in one confrontation with authorities last week.

Over 760 homicides have been recorded in the state this year, as of early June.

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