Mexican authorities have apprehended Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, head of the Juarez cartel in the northern city of Torreon, Coahuila. His capture comes on the heels of last week's bust of drug lord Hector-Beltran-Leyva, who was nabbed in San Miguel de Allende, in the central state of Guanajuato.
Both operations were allegedly executed without a shot fired, suggesting that the government had good intelligence on both men. In this week's cartel confidential column for Fusion, Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola reports that Sinaloa boss Joaquin Chapo Guzman is exchanging information with authorities for prison privileges. Incidentally, both Beltran-Leyva and Carrillo Fuentes are fierce rivals of Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel.
Carrillo Fuentes belongs to one of Mexico’s infamous narco dynasties. He is the brother of deceased kingpin Armando Carrillo Fuentes, once known as “the lord of the skies” because he flew around in a fleet of jets, shuttling drugs from Mexico into the United States.
In 2004, Carrillo Fuentes’ other brother, Rodolfo, was murdered by Sinaloa cartel sicarios, bringing a bloody end to the relationship between those two drug empires. In retaliation, Carrillo Fuentes allegedly ordered the killing of Chapo’s brother, Arturo Guzman, known as “El Pollo,” who was shot with pistol by another prisoner while he was talking to his lawyer in a jail module inside the maximum security prison of Altiplano (back then known as La Palma). Now Chapo seems to be having the last laugh, as he watches the nightly news on his new TV and stuffs his face with chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies.
The turf wars between the Sinaloa, Juarez and Beltran-Leyva cartels have claimed thousands of lives throughout Mexico and created an atmosphere of fear, violence and lawlessness. The recent disappearance of 43 students — 17 of whom hitmen confessed to have murdered — show the situation does not seem to be improving despite targeted victories in the drug war.