“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

In an alarming revelation of an unprecedented crime crisis, a recent study by AC Consultores uncovers the deeply entrenched reach of organized crime throughout Mexico. The study, an amalgamation of data gathered over six months from federal and state prosecutors, as well as documents hacked from the Sedena by the Guacamaya collective, sheds light on the pervasive grip of criminal organizations across the country.

Data reveals an alarming footprint of violence encompassing 1,488 out of 2,471 municipalities across Mexico, from the farthest corners of Chiapas to Querétaro, fuelled by various criminal organizations. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel are the most prevalent, operating in 28 and 24 states respectively.

Among other significant organizations, the Gulf Cartel has been detected in 10 states, the Northeast Cartel in eight, La Familia Michoacana in seven, Los Zetas in six, The Templars in five, and Los Chapitos in four. “Minor” organizations such as the Beltrán Leyva, the Caborca Cartel, Los Talibanes, Los Rojos, Los Salazar, and Los Viagras each operate in three states.

This month alone, Mexico was jolted by a surge of 971 intentional homicides, a staggering average of 80.9 per day, contributing to over 158,000 violent deaths nationwide.

According to the study, there are 175 active criminal organizations across Mexico. The Jalisco Cartel operates in 427 municipalities, with Los Zetas following closely in 411, and the Sinaloa Cartel operating in 293. Other organizations have significant presences ranging between 20 and 50 municipalities, including Los Chapitos, Los Salazar, Los Guerreros Unidos, Los Rojos, and La Línea.

Geographically, the Sinaloa Cartel reigns over an expansive territory of 674,000 square kilometers, followed by the Jalisco Cartel covering 477,000 square kilometers. These criminal enterprises exert their influence over vast populations, with the Jalisco Cartel operating in regions inhabited by 55 million people, and the Sinaloa Cartel in areas home to 36 million people.

Mexico City stands out as a criminal hub, hosting 216% more organizations than the rest of the country. The capital’s most prominent criminal organizations include La Unión Tepito, La Fuerza Anti Unión, the Tláhuac Cartel, and cells of La Familia Michoacana. Adding to the city’s volatility are Colombian and Venezuelan organizations whose activities pose potential risks to 8.6 million residents.

Across the country, the municipalities most riddled with organized crime include Asunción Ixtaltepec, Chahuites, Ciudad Ixtepec, El Espinal, Guevea de Humboldt, Ixpantepec Nieves, Juchitán de Zaragoza, Magdalena Tlacotepec, and Reforma de Pineda, each housing nine criminal organizations. The state of Michoacán is home to 24 groups, with 19 operating in Sonora.

The study confirms that the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels dominate Mexican organized crime, collectively accounting for a potential security risk to 72.1% of Mexico’s population. The data paints a stark image of Mexico in 2023, in the throes of an escalating crime crisis fueled by organized crime’s relentless hold.

Vallarta Daily News