Mountain assault violates a taboo
by LUIS FERNANDO ALONSO
Heavily armed men reportedly descended on the hometown of “El Chapo,” ransacking his mother’s home, killing several residents and displacing 150 families, a clear indication that the sun is setting on an era marked by the Mexican crime boss’s dominance.
A gang of 150 attackers appeared early on June 11 in the small mountain town of La Tuna and raided the home of Consuelo Loera Guzman, mother of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and took several vehicles, Río Doce reported. Eyewitnesses told the news magazine that eight townspeople had been killed.
The armed group took vehicles from the nearby villages of Arroy Seco, Huixiopa, Pericos, and La Palama, and residents of the remote area in the mountains of Sinaloa state reportedly fled towards the state capital Culiacán and the city of Badiraguato to escape the violence.
Culiacán-based Río Doce was initially the only source of news of the attack. Details were sketchy and the authorities were slow to respond. Sinaloa’s secretary of Public Security told Río Doce on June 15 — four days after the attack — that a joint force made up of police and military units was being dispatched to retake control of the zone.
Sinaloa state officials said they could not confirm details of the attack. Even after arriving in the area the reaction force was reportedly slow to move to the mountaintops where most of the action allegedly occurred.
InSight Crime analysis
This area of northwestern Sinaloa is part of Mexico’s Golden Triangle, a mountainous region that also covers parts of Durango and Chihuahua states and is synonymous with the drug trade.
Guzman was recaptured in January 2016 following his second escape from Mexican prison and is currently being held near the border city of Cuidad Juarez, awaiting extradition to the United States.
The BLO’s Chapo Isidro, also known as “Chapito,” has been on the ascendancy in Mexico’s criminal underworld, and his network was officially designated a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) by the U.S. Treasury in 2013.
The reports of violence coming out of La Tuna appear to confirm warnings that Guzman’s arrest would spark conflict and turf wars as other illegal actors try to take advantage of his absence. As Guzman’s expected extradition to the United States edges closer, his empire appears to be unraveling.
Attacks on family were once considered taboo even among the criminals of Mexico’s drug cartels. The apparent attack on the home of El Chapo’s mother seems to send an especially stark message and may herald the end of an era in more ways than one.