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Costilla Sanchez Sentenced to Life Imprisonment and US PSI Issues Report Concerning DOJ

September 15-21, 2022 | Issue 18 - NORTHCOM

Savannah Fellows, Rhiannon Thomas, NORTHCOM Team

Valentina Topatigh, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor

Map showing where the Gulf Cartel is currently based[1]

Date: September 15, 2022

Location: Brownsville, Texas, USA; Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Parties involved: US government; Law enforcement; Gulf Cartel; Mexican residents; Mexican crime lord Jorge “El Cos” Costilla-Sanchez

The event: Costilla-Sanchez was sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to drug smuggling from Mexico to the US.[2] Costilla-Sanchez was a Tamaulipas police officer before becoming the head of the Gulf Cartel in 2003 when the former leader was arrested. The Gulf Cartel uses firearms and intimidation tactics to maintain control in the local area and utilizes violence to maintain power.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Gulf Cartel will almost certainly retaliate against law enforcement in Tamaulipas to protest against the sentencing of Costilla-Sanchez, very likely demanding the charges be dropped and his release. Gulf Cartel’s violent actions will very likely impact Tamaulipas residents, almost certainly leading to civilian injuries. Social unrest on online platforms will likely increase due to feelings of insecurity, unlikely to lead to demonstrations due to protesters’ fears of being targeted. Local administrations will likely request international support to address increasing violence, likely seeking foreign aid from the US government due to its involvement in Costilla-Sanchez’s sentencing.

  • The Gulf Cartel will almost certainly appoint new leadership to maintain cartel operations, with ongoing activities almost certainly raising residents’ doubts about law enforcement’s ability to maintain security. Ineffective cartel management will likely be attributed to potential corruption due to Costilla-Sanchez’s former occupation, very likely leading citizens to distrust law enforcement’s ability to uphold the law. There is a roughly even chance of local residents not reporting cartel activity due to their distrust in law enforcement, with the Gulf Cartel likely utilizing this to strengthen their zones of influence by increasing their presence and frequency of attacks.

Date: September 20, 2022

Location: Washington DC, USA

Parties involved: US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI); US Department of Justice (DOJ); state prisons; law enforcement; correctional officers US citizens; far-left political officials; justice movements; dead prisoners and individuals being arrested; families of those who have died

The event: The PSI issued a report stating the DOJ has not disclosed all state prison and arrest-related deaths, which must be reported under federal law. While some deaths are not reported, others are missing at least one data field required by law, such as not stating the circumstances surrounding the death.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The data concerning prison and arrest-related deaths is almost certainly significantly higher than reported, and the misreporting will very likely create citizens’ distrust in the DOJ, with a roughly even chance of protests occurring. Citizens will very likely pressure the DOJ for an explanation as to why data is missing, likely asking for a reform of its reporting policies. The DOJ will likely comply by creating stricter data collection policies and increasing policy enforcement to regain citizens’ trust, with citizens likely remaining skeptical.

  • The publicization of misreporting will very likely cause families and US citizens to seek an explanation for the deaths, who will very likely form alternative theories. Some theories will likely claim that the deaths resulted from law enforcement and correctional officer corruption, very likely putting them at risk of an attack. There is a roughly even chance that individuals and groups that criticize law enforcement will seek to progress their agendas, likely by further spreading theories that create animosity toward law enforcement and correctional officers.


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[2] U.S. judge sentences Mexican cartel boss to life in prison, Reuters, September 2022,

[3] Jorge "El Cos" Costilla-Sanchez, former Gulf Cartel leader, sentenced to life in prison in Texas for drug smuggling conspiracy, CBS News, September 2022,

[4] U.S. Senate probe finds Justice Dept undercounted state prison deaths, Reuters, September 2022,



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