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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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With over a dozen years of combined experience in military law enforcement, force protection analysis, and writing a variety of professional products for the US Air Force, state government in California, and the general public, Ms. Longmire has the expertise to create a superior product for you or your agency to further your understanding of Mexico’s drug war. Longmire Consulting is dedicated to being on the cusp of the latest developments in Mexico in order to bring you the best possible analysis of threats posed by the drug violence south of the border.

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April 09, 2010

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Another question to ponder is how stable is the Sinaloa cartel itself?

Good job!

Go back to the times of Felix Gallardo ... the original drug kingpin in Mexico during the 80's. A situation where one bad guy controlled all the power. At that time there was major drug business going on in Mexico, and plenty of political corruption, but Gallardo was smart and kept the violence (mostly) out of sight. Mexico appeared to be a more peaceful country - which actually increased the business of the cartel.

No need to tell you that Chapo Guzman was a main understudy of Gallardo - one of the former lieutenants of that cartel. So it should not be surprising that Guzman really aims to get back to that traditional structure - one man controlling everything.

Keep in mind also ... when Gallardo was arrested, the Mexican authorities also locked up a large number of corrupt police who worked for his organization. But they NEVER touched the high-placed politicians who were on his payroll. So it's a good bet that Chapo continued those connections when he took over Sinaloa.

Guzman is very smart - extremely cunning. He is outwitting his rivals ... he operates in ways that they don't catch. Will he succeed with his plan to become the new kingpin? Who knows. It will not be so easy for Guzman to get rid of the Zeta's - they are probably his main threat because they are also professional and very smart. But it does look like Guzman is winning in Juarez. Bit by bit, the Juarez cartel is getting knocked out of the picture.

Your right about this news not being much to get excited about. As an unsophisticated observer of the situation in Mexico today I would offer the following thoughts. For whoever controls the Juarez plaza, be it a megacartel or a smaller cartel, any consolidation of power will bring only an illusion of stability. Much of the violence is driven by factors such as the stark poverty caused by extreme economic inequality. The economy of Juarez and other violent border towns such as Tijuana and Reynosa are based to a large degree on very low paying maquiladora jobs and the presence of a poor, uneducated workforce from other parts of the country to fill those jobs. The high number of violent gang members driving the current violence and the high levels of drug use in comparison to other Mexican cities are a reflection of these economic conditions. That is why cartel on cartel violence (and crime in general) is so severe in these cities. Remember the hundreds of young female homicides in Juarez? These women were primarily powerless maquiladora workers whose deaths can be explained as a hideous finale to their exploitation. And most of these deaths occurred when the Juarez cartel was at it's prime and the plaza was stable. An how stable would a mega Sinaloa cartel be? Remember, we are not dealing with a group of M.I.T. educated technocrats, but on the contrary, with a bunch of ruthless, pathological thugs who unfortunately tend to be rather intelligent and cunning. In other words this group is not a model of stability.

Can and would a Mexican government do away with megacartels that ensure the constant inflow of dollars that prop up a week economy? Can it be done is doubtful. I do believe however that there are at least a few people among the elites and in government that have a vision of a better Mexico and are attempting to steer the nation in that direction. The Mexican economy has a strong export sector fully integrated into the global economy that has been hurt by the current recession. The basic strength of this economy is evident as there is minimal inflation in spite of current conditions. Some may argue that this is due to narcodollars propping up the Peso but the banking system, although still a reservoir of some narco dollars, is more open and transparent than in the past. It is important to remember that although the profit margin of drug trafficking is high, so are the costs. Procurement of arms, communications and computer equipment, transportation costs, lavish lifestyles and the high cost of corruption payoffs all take a heavy toll on profits. This money also stays in the concentrated hands of traffickers and corrupted officials and after being laundered is not reinvested in productive job producing sectors of the economy but to a large degree is put into domestic "front" companies, taken out of the country and spent or invested in Europe or the U.S., or used in the acquisition of luxury goods. I cannot see any scenario under which the Mexican economy would collapse due solely to the elimination of narcodollar inflows.

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