When we last left the sullen landscape of Mexico Lindo, Los Zetas were treating Tamaulipas like their own personal chew toy. For now, the battle for control of Mexico's Gulf coast has played out in favor of Los Zetas. Although, the demise of the Beltran/Leyva organization left a void, and everyone is rushing to fill it. This puts Mexico's second city, Guadalajara in the crosshairs of both Los Zetas & Chapo Guzman. Los Zetas have made preliminary strikes into Jalisco, and in turn Sinaloa has launched a campaign aimed at Los Zetas in Veracruz. This has ushered in a sharp and sickening increase in violence. Veracruz is a stronghold for Los Zetas who operate within the city and state of Veracruz with impunity. Recent allegations have surfaced showing that the former governor, who left office in 2010 had either by threat or greed turned control of the state over to Los Zetas.
Carrying out Guzman's ominous strategy is a group called The New Generation. They refer to themselves as "Los Mata Zetas", a tag that first appeared on narcomantas (drug banners) and YouTube videos. They made their presence felt by dumping the bodies of 35 alleged members of Los Zetas on a busy thoroughfare in Boca del Rio, an upscale suburb of Veracruz. Los Mata Zetas followed this up by killing 32 more Zeta associates, and scattering their bodies at various locales around the city of Veracruz. The dead men & women, were mostly street level dealers, "halcones" (lookouts, spies) a trip wire or early warning system. They are expendable frontline fodder and the ones most likely to catch a bullet.
It's believed that the brazen move by Chapo Guzman was to stall or discourage Los Zetas from moving in on lucrative drug routes. The two cartels have been swirling around Mexico like tornados, touching down in various cities and states to wreak havoc and destruction. All along it's been coming down to this, a showdown between Los Zetas and Chapo's Sinaloa cartel. Loyalty can be bought for a price. The Gulf Cartel & The Knights Templar (a quasi religous organization formed by a fracture within La Familia) have fallen in with Sinaloa. La Familia, now without its spiritual leader Nazario Moreno, also known as "El Mas Loco" is in dire straits and fighting for it's very survival. To this end they've made a pact with the devil (Los Zetas)
Nazario Moreno, who once authored his own bible, was a psychopathic zealot on a narco mission from God. He was killed in a shootout with the federales. While we're on the subject of madmen, The International Order of the Knights Templar, which is a charity organization, is disturbed that a drug cartel would appropriate their good name. Roberto Molinari, spokesman for that order in Mexico explained "The real Knights Templar has never had any link to criminal activities" he added "The danger is if the criminals hurt someone and their rivals are looking for revenge they might shoot one of our members. So we are like, 'Hey. Find yourself another name." They have every right to complain, although when you consider that is was the group that introduced beheadings and grenade attacks to Mexico, it would be wise to temper their complaints.
An alliance formed between Los Zetas & La Linea (the Juarez Cartel) will certainly re-ignite the smoldering conflict in Juarez. La Linea oversees Barrio Azteca, a prison/street gang with a strong presence on both side of the border. Los Aztecas have long carried out the dirty work for the Juarez Cartel and they are now joined by a group of cartel loyalist who call themselves "El Nuevo Cartel Juarez." This group operates as a paramilitary unit and is in charge of disrupting Chapo Guzman's organization in the plazas of Chihuahua. Their stated purpose is to expose ties between the Sinaloa Cartel and Calderon's government. Los Negros (a paramilitary squad who dress in black and travel in convoys of black vehicles) were once Chapo's enforcers. When the Beltran/Leyva cartel broke away from Sinaloa they switched sides, now one has to presume that they're on the payroll of Los Zetas.
Naturally, nothing goes without notice, and payback is swift. Just recently, the bodies of four men murdered in Juarez bore a narco message "Tell El Nuevo Cartel Juarez to keep recruiting." The new enforcers for Chapo Guzman are La Gente Nueva, who were on the frontline in Juarez and have now spread out into the interior. The G.N. controls The Mexicles & Artistas Asesinos (Artist Assassins, also known as Doblados) Since 2006 these two Juarez street gangs (unlike Barrio Azteca, they have few ties to the U.S.) have borne the brunt of La Linea's retaliatory strikes. A recent estimate put the number of cartel combatants in Juarez at 9,000, however, Like everything else in Mexico, the numbers are deceiving, policemen by day become sicarios by night, corrupt prison guards moonlight as hitmen.
The federal government seems to have lost its taste for the fight, it's either re-evaluating its strategy or simply waiting out the remainder of Calderon's term. Amid all the killing, Mexico is hosting The Pan-Am Games in Guadalajara. In order to accomplish this without any participating athletes falling victim to stray bullets, The Federales are mobilizing a massive security force to maintain calm in the city. They're doing this by pulling thousands of soldiers & Federal police from strife ridden cities in the north. It's assumed that once the games end, all bets are off and an unprecedented wave of violence will explode across Old Mexico.