Violence in Mexico: 12 Month Outlook Gang Cartels


    gang cartels 2023
    Mexican journalists silently marched in downtown Mexico City in protest of the kidnappings, murder and violence against their peers throughout the country. Photo by Knight Foundation via Flickr.


    Mexican drug cartels dominate the international distribution of drugs in the American continent. In December 2006, the US and Mexican governments began to wage a “War on Drugs” to reduce the presence of drug cartels in Mexico and illegal drug demand abroad. Despite the efforts, drug cartels are still present and flourish in Mexico. Indeed, the flourishment of drug cartels has been responsible for the escalation of violence since 2006. One hundred ninety-eight active crime groups are still fighting for territorial legitimacy and drug trafficking supremacy in Mexico. In the next 12 months, gang cartels will likely continue affecting civilians and US interests

    Key Judgement 1

    Fighting is likely to increase for gang cartels trafficking hegemony in the next 12 months.

    • In Tulum, ten drug cartels are currently fighting over drug sales, while also causing civilian deaths.
    • Since 2006, 150,000 people have died due to drug cartels violence. 
    • The high presence of tourists in the coastal zone of Acapulco, Cancun, Puerto Morelos, and Tulum represents the most lucrative areas for the drug trade. Therefore, cartels are fighting to obtain hegemony of the drug street-level dealing. 
    • Additionally, cartels are fighting to control the drug smuggling routes to the US. Indeed, On the 7th of January 2022, nine bodies were found on a highway in Veracruz, a region bordering the Gulf of Mexico. 

    Key Judgement 2

    Corruption in the Mexican government and police forces is likely to reinforce drug cartels in the next 12 months.

    • Mexican government’s corruption facilitates the criminal-business enterprise and reinforces their chances of survival.
    • Genaro García Luna, leader of the Mexican federal police 2006-2012, helped the Sinaloa cartel to smuggle drugs to the US in exchange for $3 million. 
    • In 2019, judge Isidro Avelar Gutierrez was sanctioned for taking bribes from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization.

    Key Judgement 3

    The Mexican government is likely to press for additional US assistance to fight drug cartels in the next 12 months.

    • Since 2007, the US government has invested $3.3 billion in the Mexican War on Drugs, however did not reduce gang violence in Mexico. 
    • The Merida Initiative is coming to an end due to its current inefficacy. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard are calling for a new agreement with the United States.
    • The deal will tackle crime, funding, and migration issues. 
    Bianca Bonardi
    Bianca Bonardi
    Bianca is a graduate student in Criminology at Goldsmiths College of London. She recently finished her post-graduate studies in Terrorism and Security at King's College of London. Her research is mainly focused on Middle East issues and International Terrorist threats.

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