Mexico's Gulf Cartel increasingly relies on women
The number of women working in the drug trade is estimated to have grown in Mexico by 400 percent between 2007 and 2010, writes guest blogger Patrick Corcoran.
• A version of this post ran on the author's site, Insightcrime.com. The views expressed are the author's own.Skip to next paragraph
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As Excelsior reported last week (in Spanish):
The army has evidence that women have begun to occupy important positions inside the Gulf Cartel; in [Reynosa] they have begun to obtain information that not only is the number of women who are dedicated to assassinations rising, but they have also gone from managing safe houses and administering funds to carrying out intricate operations for the purchase and smuggling of drugs and undocumented immigrants ...The Gulf Cartel has bet on women to come and fortify an organization that has been worn down by casualties suffered in confrontations with the Zetas.
Despite being one of the most powerful groups in Mexico over the past two decades, more than two years of warfare with the Zetas, their one-time enforcer arm, along with the arrest of a number of leading figures, have rendered the group a shell of its former self. As InSight Crime reported last month, of the men who led the group at its height in the early 2000s, the only remaining figure is Eduardo Costilla, alias “El Coss”. Yet Reynosa, a Tamaulipas town of some 600,000 people across of the border from McAllen, Texas, remains a Gulf Cartel stronghold in the group’s dwindling swatch of territory in northeastern Mexico.
While often overlooked, women playing a role in organized crime groups is nothing new in Mexico. As InSight Crime has noted, the number of women working in the drug trade is estimated to have grown by 400 percent between 2007 and 2010. This includes a number of now-notorious figures, principal among them Sandra Avila, who earned notoriety as the "Queen of the Pacific" following her 2007 arrest for accused drug trafficking. Many of the initial charges were subsequently dismissed, though she remains in jail on money laundering charges, and an extradition request from the US is pending.