Sinaloa group 101: Five facts about Mexico's powerful drug cartel

The Sinaloa cartel is the most powerful drug trafficking organization operating in Mexico – and, some say, in the Western Hemisphere. Who are they?

3. The Sinaloa group's influence today

The dynamics of drug-trafficking organizations have changed greatly since President Calderón launched a military-led effort against organized crime in 2006. Many groups have been weakened, but the Sinaloa group seems to have strengthened.

As Stratfor’s vice president of tactical intelligence, Scott Stewart, said recently, the Mexican government is “making headway against certain organizations, but at the same time, the largest cartel, Sinaloa cartel, that is headed up by a gentleman by the name of El Chapo, 'the short one,' Sinaloa has been getting stronger and stronger. And they are really becoming more of a regional hegemon in the cartel landscape.” They control the border from Tijuana to Ciudad Juarez.

The Calderón administration has made progress in arresting and capturing top drug-trafficking suspects (including Sinaloa No. 3 Ignacio Coronel Villareal, also known as “Nacho Coronel,” in 2010, among others), but it has faced claims that it is favoring Sinaloa. The government vociferously denies that claim. The Sinaloa group is not only powerful in Mexico: their influence has grown deeper in Latin America and even Europe.

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