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November 23-29, 2023 | Issue 42 - William Bos, Kiara Alexander, Ignacio Minuesa, Maria Laka, Ektoras Papadimitriou, Hae Lim Park, NORTHCOM and Extremism Team

Christina Valdez, Editor; Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Senior Editor

Mexican National Guard[1]

Date: November 23, 2023

Location: Near Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico

Parties involved: Mexico; Mexican National Guard (GN); Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena); Mexican Attorney General's Office (FGR); governor of Sinaloa, Rubén Rocha Moya; Sinaloa Cartel; security chief of Sinaloa Cartel, Néstor Isidro Pérez Salas aka El Nini; Sinaloa Cartel member Kevin Daniel; Montecarlo residential complex residents; US

The event: The GN led an anti-drug trafficking operation at the Montecarlo residential complex, resulting in the arrest of Kevin Daniel and the seizure of property allegedly owned by El Nini. Daniel had a wide array of chemical substances used to manufacture drugs in his possession. During the operation, the GN blocked access to the Montecarlo residential complex, prohibiting residents and workers from entering or exiting the premises. This operation occurred a day after security forces arrested El Nini 40 miles south.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The arrest of Daniel in Culiacan has a roughly even chance of hindering the cartel’s prominence within the region and drug network because of the security and logistics of the Sinaloa Cartel drug empire. The Sinaloa Cartel workforce in Culiacan will very likely maintain the capabilities to reactivate the chemical laboratory seized by the GN and continue drug manufacturing. The Sinaloa Cartel will almost certainly replace Daniel with another cartel member to reinstate the cartel structure after a temporary power vacuum.

  • Future operations coordinated by GN and Sedena targeting properties associated with the Sinaloa Cartel are very likely to take place following the arrest of Kevin Daniel. The arrest of high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel, who oversee drug production labs in Sinaloa, will almost certainly be the main objective of joint operations between GN and Sedena. GN and Sedena will almost certainly leverage the temporary vacuum in the Sinaloa Cartel lab operation to further destabilize the cartel in Culiacan.

Date: November 26, 2023

Location: Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco, Mexico

Parties involved: Mexico; Mexican government; Mexican National Guard (GN); Jalisco police; State Attorney General's Office (FGJE); Sinaloa Cartel; Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG); Tlajomulco de Zuniga residents; five people in custody

The event: The GN raided a property in Tlajomulco de Zuniga after residents notified the authorities of armed men using the facility. Allegedly, cartels used the premises to force disappearances of people by dissolving bodies in chemicals. Five people were arrested during the operation, but the FGJE has not announced the charges against them. Authorities have not yet linked the raided facility to a specific criminal organization, but cartels are known to employ these methods in Jalisco.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is very unlikely that law enforcement efforts will eliminate forced disappearances due to the resilience of those employing it. The cartels will very likely continue resorting to forced disappearances as a tactic to exert coercive control and fear within the communities. The cartels will almost certainly use the tactic to dissuade potential informants and rivals, who pose a threat to their territorial control and business interests, from acting against them.

  • Cartels will very likely seek to identify suspected collaborators, likely by coercing other civilians and state employees through intimidation and monetary rewards. They will likely deploy operatives knowledgeable of local sympathies in the area, very likely attempting to gather information through threats of violence against residents and their families. Cartels will very likely approach state officials perceived as corrupt, likely offering significant amounts of money to attain information.

  • Jalisco police will likely heighten their security measures in the region, likely increasing recruitment efforts to conduct mass surveillance in the area. Local residents will likely experience an increase in law enforcement presence in their neighborhoods as patrols become routine, likely relying on community policing to counter cartel activities. Increased law enforcement presence will likely disrupt the normal life among residents, likely due to frequent traffic stops, routine checks, and interviewing of local community members.

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[2] Kevin “N” is detained during the second day of operations in Culiacán after the capture of El Nini, Infobae, November 2023, (Translated by Google)

[3] Five people who were dedicated to dissolving bodies in acid fall in Jalisco, Infobae, November 2023, (Translated by Google)



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