Here is an excerpt from Josh Meyer's article in The Baltimore Sun:
"The reputed head of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel has instructed his army of associates to use deadly force if necessary to protect their increasingly contested trafficking operations, even against U.S. law enforcement, according to authorities here and in Washington. The threatened offensive by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Mexico's most-wanted man, was described by U.S. officials as being highly unusual, given that his associates have avoided violent confrontations with American law enforcement officers, and have kept their blood feuds with fellow traffickers largely south of the border. Guzman is believed to have delivered the message personally in early March, during a three-day gathering of his associates in Sonoita, a small Mexican town just a few miles south of the Arizona border, according to U.S. intelligence bulletins sent to several state and federal law enforcement officials. The Sonoita meeting is one of many indications that Mexico's most-wanted man is becoming more brazen even in the face of a massive Mexican government crackdown on his activities and deadly turf rivalries with other traffickers." Link to Full Article
Analysis: I'm really concerned about this, as it's plausible enough to be true. I haven't seen the bulletin in question yet, and even if I had, I might not be able to comment on it anyway as it's probably marked as Law Enforcement Sensitive. So, going solely on the information in this newspaper article, I agree with the author's assessment that Guzman's brazenness is unexpected, yet not out of the realm of possibility with everything that the Mexican government has been doing to crack down on his operations. Still, DTOs have shied away from directly confronting US law enforcement because it's not good business sense to engage US authorities unless absolutely necessary.
I'm curious if the bulletin has more details regarding the rules of engagement, or ROEs, for US authorities. Did Guzman differentiate between engaging locals and feds? Did he order his people to fire only if fired upon? Did he offer instructions for disposing of any US law enforcement bodies after a deadly shootout, or were his orders only to shoot and run? These questions may sound inconsequential, but considering that DHS is drawing up a new (and I imagine lengthy) border response plan, the response to any intentional deadly-force engagement by DTOs with US local or federal law enforcement is likely to be bigger and more intense than it would have been, say, two or three months ago. All this being said, the order may just have been an attempt by Guzman to instill some courage (or at least bravado) in his drug runners, who may have been more prone to dump pricey shipments at the first sign of US authorities. Drug runners are mostly still wary of US law enforcement, but I think this information is plausible, and US law enforcement along the border is wise to be even more cautious than usual.