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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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July 30, 2010

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Coronel’s business had been severely affected by the Federation’s new alliance with La Familia and the CDG. Specifically, La Familia’s methamphetamine manufacturing and trafficking was impeding on Coronel’s meth business. I’m not convinced this was enough of a problem for El Chapo to “give up” Coronel, as Coronel had almost as much gravitas and political sway as El Chapo and El Mayo have among their organization, and easily could have negotiated the problem. Ostensibly, Chapo would have been more than willing to placate Nacho’s demands, considering lack of negotiations with capos have historically negatively impacted Sinaloa, such is the case with Los Beltranes.

So What did happen? I think it would be incorrect to view the death of Coronel as a consequence of the Federation’s new alliance, but rather as a consequence of a series of events which unfolded after the alliance was created. Lest we forget that there were substantial rumors that Coronel was taken into custody some time ago, along with Chapo’s wife. There were even rumors suggesting his incarceration was some how tied with Diego’s disappearance. Furthermore, JT’s sobrino, Mini-seis, was killed in Guadalajara right after he met up with Coronel. Since the government has been forced to make some hard decisions in order to deal with some of the Juarez Cartel’s threats (Car bombing if the government failed to act against Sinaloa); the Mexican government was forced to go after a Capo from Sinaloa. El Chapo did not actively “give up” or dictate the death of Coronel, but just came to the realization that someone had to go, and why not a capo that has consistently been plagued by circumstances which some in their organization found questionable? Catholics may call this a sin of omission.

The Best,

D

One question here that may be a bit off topic but you do make reference to it. . .. Why was the death of Kiki Camarena such a watershed event? I see reference to it over and over again (even 20+ years on!) such that I understand it had an enormous impact. But, why?

I an not any sort of conspiracy theorist, but the circumstances of Nacho's death are very suspicious. First, it had been rumored that Nacho had been captured a few months ago. More specifically the Mexican press asked the Mx. gov. if Nacho's arrest was true and the Mx. gov. either said no comment or neither confirmed the arrest or denied it. I find the Mx gov. reactions to the arrest rumor very interesting. Why did they not just deny the arrest took place like they have done for so many other false rumors of alleged drug bosses arrested? For weeks the MX gov. kept silent on the alleged arrest of Nacho. Why?
Another issue is apparently Nacho was the only one killed in this raid. I find this odd especially when the gov says his security chief was arrested and another 10 body guards were also arrested. Usually in a fire fight there are more than just one casualty. Are we supposed to believe that Nacho alone fired upon this huge contingent of Mexican special forces and if so the special forces aim was so good that Nacho was the only person hit and killed in this raid. For a comparison look at the raid on Arturo Beltran Leyva. Along with his death all of his body guards were also killed in the shoot out. There can be other comparisons of drug lords killed in shootouts. Pablo Escobar was killed, but his lone body guard was also killed. I just find it beyond credible that only Nacho would have been hit and killed by gunfire.

Another thing that bothers me is why not the usual death scene photos and videos shot by the gov. or shot by the media with the gov. permission. The MX gov and military love to do this in order to show off their victory and in a sick way like a big game hunter posing over the kills, plus these videos and pictures are used as proof that their intended target is dead. None of these photos or videos have pooped up in the media as of yet. No videos or photos of Nacho's corpse at the scene or at the medical examiers office currenlty exist. Why is this so when the MX gov's habit to parade the deaths or arrests of drug cartel figures in public is still very alive today throughout Mexico.

Yes, they will establish the dead man's identity through DNA and fingerprints, but that will only be to prove that Nacho is dead, but not when he died.

More proof is the war that broke out in the territories that Nacho controlled after his alleged arrest took place. If he was not arrested that fateful day a few months back, then there was no real resosn for war to break out in such a large magnitude. Yes the BLO and Zetas were fighting him for his area, but not on the scale of what was seen after Nacho's alleged arrest. The war that started and the large scale of it started a few months back is the kind of war that takes place when a top leader is killed or arrested.

I am not questioning Nacho's death, but I am questioning when, where, and how he actually died and what part did the MX gov. play in his death.

In this case there are just too many things that do not add up. I think it is very plausible Nacho was arrested months ago, it was kept from the public, and he probably died during interrogation/torture. Until there is a definite autopsy with time of death, cause of death and or pictures of his actual body will this be resolved, but do not look for this to happen.

Joe ... good comments. You've raised a very good point - where are the collateral casualties when they took down Coronel??

Sylvia - many people have speculated that Calderon's government has been sympathetic to the Sinaloa Cartel (I have said that myself). Some observers have even wondered if the Mex Government was actually using a "most favored cartel" approach to limit violence within their country. But the death of Coronel seems to contradict this, and it is a major victory for Calderon ... if we can accept things at face value.

Let's suppose that the death of Coronel is both real and significant (i.e. it happened without any backstabbing by Guzman in his own cartel). What would that mean? It seems to me that it sends a strong signal that any capo can be eventually located and killed in Mexico.

And if that's true, then some serious responses might be expected from the cartels:
(1) Drug Cartels may become much more active in trying to oust Calderon and his party from power in Mexico
(2) The top capo's might try to hit back directly at Calderon and the special Mexican navy units who are doing these operations
(3) The capo's may change their bases of operation and switch to running the drug trade from outside Mexico. For example, they may relocate to Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador - in regions where police presence is essentially non-existent.

Why don't we accept also that the Mexican Army and Federal Police have both grown in intelligence and professionalism and are now taking down, one by one, the most powerful druglords in the country.

To answer one of Joe's questions. There is a video and pictures of a dead Nacho Coronel on BlogDelNarco.com So that lays the rest the theory that he is still alive. I still believe that president Calderon still favors one cartel, the Sinaloa cartel. I believe that Nacho Coronel was sacrificed to the Calderon to show everyone that the Sinaloa cartel is not favored by the government. There is speculation that Coronel was getting too powerful within the cartel itself, therefore El Chapo Guzman decided to get rid of him, by sacrificing him. Remember he still has Juan Jose "El Azúl" Esparragoza Moreno. El Chapo can just send him now to replace Coronel. Juan Jose "El Azúl" Esparragoza Moreno knows the drug business enough that he can just continue were Coronel left off.

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