Posting on the Argentine/Mexico/Euro narco nexus has to be delayed yet again because of this..Covered in dollars, pesos, rosaries and his blood, “Jefe de jefes” Arturo Beltran Leyva–La Muerte–the head of the Beltran Leyva cartel lies dead following a two-hour tiroteo with a combined force of 200 Mexican marines, Navy special forces and army soldiers in an air-and-ground assault on a high-dollar condo complex in the heart of Cuernavaca Wednesday evening.
The massive air-and-ground military operation on the Cuernavaca high-rise condo complex was planned and mounted with the assistance of “US intelligence”–specifically the DEA and FBI.
In his press conference on Thursday Navy Department spokesman, Jose Luis Vergara said “This operation was the result of the intensive work done by intelligence elements of the Mexican Navy-Armada de Mexico, as well as exchange information with other national and foreign agencies.”
According to reports from the Mexican Navy the raid that left Arturo Beltran Leyva and five other cartel gunmen dead was the result of a joint US/Mexico intelligence operation specifically targeting the Beltran Leyva leadership by the Mexican Defense Ministry (SEDENA), the DEA and the FBI that launched more than six months ago. Vergara added that Wednesday evening raid was a follow-up to an operation conducted last Friday. (Excelsior)
On Friday Dec 11 a contingent of marines raided a Beltran Leyva Christmas fiesta in the exclusive Ahuatepec neighborhood in Morelos in which three gunmen were killed and more than 20 arrested, including three-time Latin Grammy award winner and legendary ranchera superstar, Ramon Ayala who was performing at the party.
The target of this raid was reported not Arturo but his lieutenant, Edgar Valdes, alias “La Barbie”, head of Beltran Leyva enforcement. Valdes escaped capture following the Christmas party balacera. There later was speculation that Valdes was the primary target in the Wednesday night raid on the Cuernavaca condo complex–not Arturo.
But that is doesn’t appear to the case.
Mexican authorities were specifically targeting Arturo when they launched the operation based on information provided by FBI and DEA intelligence entities that Beltran Leyva would be at the location Wednesday night.
What was the objective –to arrest Arturo or simply kill him?
Given the known circumstances surrounding Beltran Leyva’s sensational prime-time killing, the hyperactive Mexican press and the political gaming, conspiracy theories are choking the air and obscuring clarity as to exactly how–and why–Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed.
What is clear is that his killing will only exacerbate a gravely unstable security environment in the country.
In a press conference on Thursday, Mexico’s Attorney General Arturo Chavez Chavez said “A wave of violence can not be ruled out” in the wake of Don Arturo’s death.
Chavez was equivocal as to who would take the reins of the Beltran Leyva cartel, but it appears that they would fall into the hands of Arturo’s brother Hector– “el General–who is considered by many to be even more dangerous than his late brother.
Chavez said that samples of DNA were being taken from Don Arturo’s incarcerated brother and tests would be conducted to positively identify the individual killed in Wednesday as Arturo Beltran Leyva.
While attending the global climate summit in Copenhagen, Mexican President Calderón took the time to go before the cameras where he called the raid by marines and the killing of Arturo Beltran Leyva “a knockout blow…an important achievement for the government and people of Mexico.”
Back in Mexico City U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual was echoing Calderon saying the carnage in Cuernavaca suggests that Calderon’s crackdown is working. “We have begun having an impact against the drug traffickers,” Pascual said in a news conference Wednesday in Mexico City. “I don’t think it’s because we are doing something wrong.”
Pascual added that the United States is sending 45 more DEA agents to Mexico to join the narcoguerra.
Despite such assurances from President Calderon and ambassador Pascual, the cartel v cartel wars and the cartels v Mexican government war are going to get much hotter, much more vicious and more costly–
Cartel v Cartel
The Beltran Leyva org must quickly come to terms with Arturo’s death. The most likely successor to the top spot is Arturo’s brother Hector. There is also another brother, Carlos but he is not expected to contend for the position. Also in the mix is Edgar Valdes, alias “La Barbie”, head of Beltran Leyva enforcement. Despite the immediate chaotic situation, the Beltran Leyva leadership knows it must resolve the problem soon and avoid an internal split and bloodletting. Beltran Leyva chart
For its survival the org must maintain its alliance with the Zetas/La Compania Gulf/Zetas chart and quickly focus their considerable combined forces on Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman and his Sinaloa cartel–’la Federacion–not only in their battleground states of Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco but anywhere else they may find each other. If there is a split within Beltran Leyva, which ever faction remains with the Zetas will survive. The other will be swallowed by Guzman. Sinaloa/Guzman chart
Another contributor working against the breakup of Beltran Leyva is that the organization is very much a family affair. At the time of his death, Arturo Beltran Leyva was a sworn enemy of Joaquin ‘Chapo” Guzman, despite their being native Sinaloans and having shared power in the Sinaloa cartel leadership.
In 2008 Beltran Leyva broke with Guzman whom Arturo accused of betraying his brother Alfredo to Mexican authorities and his subsequent arrest and imprisonment. This led to Beltran Leyva allying with Los Zetas/La Compania. Since then there has been a ferocious war between the two orgs marked by beheadings and narcomensajes signed by “Jefe de jefes”– one of Arturo’s monikers.
Meanwhile the BL/Zetas must continue their battle with La Familia for control in the strategic states of Michoacan, Guerrero and Chiapas. La Familia will certainly take advantage of the situation. It has a choice to either push harder against Guzman/ la Federacion and Beltran Leyva on the Pacific coast north of Michoacan or come to some agreement with Sinaola.
Clearly, there is no end in sight with these wars.
- The 200-man military assault in Cuernavaca upped the ante in the war between the cartels and Calderon’s forces.
- The killing of Arturo Beltran Leyva will certainly not weaken the cartels. It is not even certain that his death will cause more than a stutter-step in his own organization.
- The cartels’ larger-scale counterattack strategy that began six months ago against police and military facilities across nine states of the republic and then escalated during the fist two weeks of this month will continue and likely intensify. We also may see some tactical upgrades.
Examples to consider::
- assassinations of high-profile military and federal government targets. Given the circumstances in Beltran Leyva’s killing and his position, FBI, DEA and other US agents and contractors may now be targeted by the cartels–something they’ve avoided since the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in Februrary 1985. Reprisals against US business personnel should be considered as well.
- deployment of large IEDs and truck bombs (something the cartels have refrained from in the past, though they are fully capable of producing them).
- major sabotage of infrastructure and state-owned industries, including petroleum and mining.
The killing of ‘La Muerte’ at the hands of the Mexican military and US intelligence is a “victory” limited to the very expensive death of one man who will soon be replaced by another of equal ability that will only inflame the cartels resolve and further exacerbate a gravely unstable security environment in the country.
As veteran journalist and columnist, Federico Arreola warned on Thursday, “Abróchense el cinturón, entramos a zona de todavía mayor turbulencia”–Fasten your seatbelts, we are heading into more turbulence.
Video from El Universal
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