Here is an excerpt from this story on KRGV.com:
"Over the weekend, more than 50 people were killed in several gunbattles in Matamoros. Among the dead, according to Mexican officials, the head of the Gulf Cartel Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen. Guillen, also known as "Tony Tormenta," was killed along with four of his gunmen. Just one day after his death, rival drug gangs hung signs on bridges and other public places gloating about his death. Authorities said with Cardenas now out of the way, rival Zetas will be even stronger and keep the violence coming, as rival drug gangs battle for power." Link to Full Article
Analysis: As I'm sure most of you have heard or read one way or another, on Nov, 5m Mexican authorities killed Antonio Ezequiel "Tony Tormenta" Cárdenas Guillen, one of the two heads of the Gulf cartel (CDG). Of course what everyone wants to know is, what will this mean for the DTO dynamic in northeastern Mexico, and how will it affect violence levels?
Well, I don't think things are going to get better, but they're not going to necessarily get worse. What happens depends mainly on how quickly Ezequiel can be replaced, if he's going to be replaced at all. What most media outlets are not telling you is that "Tony Tormenta" was not the only guy in charge of the CDG. He shared leadership with Jorge "El Coss" Costilla Sanchez, who is still around and actually has a pretty big price tag on his head - placed there by the US government. As you may know, Ezequiel was the brother of the notorious former CDG leader Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, who was arrested by Mexican authorities in 2003 and extradited to the US in 2007.
Stratfor has something very interesting to say about Tony and El Coss: "Costilla Sanchez was said to be the operational leader of the cartel, with Tony Tormenta enjoying his position [as the Tamaulipas plaza boss] only due to his relationship to his brother, Osiel. In many ways, Tony Tormenta’s death could prove beneficial to Gulf cartel operations." I haven't read anything about Ezequiel being replaced by a lieutenant being promoted from within the CDG, so it's possible that Costilla Sanchez will try to maintain control of the CDG on his own.
If you hadn't heard, Los Zetas have been fighting with the CDG for control of the Texas-Mexico border region for the better part of a year and a half. Los Zetas will likely see Ezequiel's death as an opportunity to wrest control of some plazas - particularly Reynosa and Matamoros, from the CDG. However, I agree with Stratfor's assessment that the CDG will likely be prepared for this. I said in my interview with John Vause on CNN International a few days ago that I think this will be just a hiccup for the CDG. Yes, they've been weakened by Los Zetas and Mexican government actions over the last couple of years, but they still have plenty of fight left in them. We'll probably see more violence in northeastern Mexico over the next month or two as Los Zetas test the waters, but I think things will eventually go back to how they were in Tamaulipas before Ezequiel's death...at least until someone picks off Costilla Sanchez, that is. Then you'll be seeing another post from me on the CDG's fate.
Read more: Mexico Security Memo: Nov. 8, 2010 | STRATFOR