- Both convoys have a presence in over 20 Mexican states, and control large swaths of drug trafficking zones at the US-Mexico border.
- The La Linea crime syndicate was at the center of the Mormon convoy ambuscade that occurred last year.
- The incident almost led to US President Donald Trump designating Mexican cartels as terrorists.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel are locked in a feud over territory in Chihuahua and Sonora. The most recent clash led to the death of 19 cartel members. Reports indicate that members of the Gente Nueva cartel, which is backed by the Sinaloa Cartel, were ambushed earlier this month by elements of the La Linea crime gang that is supported by the CJNG.
Over 40 La Linea gunmen attacked a Gente Nueva convoy leading to the deaths. The Sinaloa and CJNG cartel are the two biggest drug trafficking organizations in Mexico today. They each have a presence in over 20 Mexican states, and control large swaths of drug trafficking zones at the US-Mexico border. The areas are crucial entry points for narcotics into the United States.
The most recent attack was reportedly aimed at eliminating the rival gang’s leader in the region. La Linea has, in the past, successfully taken out the group’s head in a bid to maintain control over the territory.
The syndicate is a remnant of the now-defunct Juarez Cartel, which was once the biggest narco-trafficking organization in the country. It began to crumble after the death of its leader, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who died after a botched plastic-surgery in 1997. He was nicknamed Lord of the Skies due to his preference for used Boeing 727 transporter planes. He used them to fly drugs into Mexico for distribution in the United States.
The La Linea crime syndicate was at the center of the Mormon convoy ambuscade that occurred last year. The November 9 attack led to the death of nine Americans. Investigations by Mexican law enforcement concluded that it was a case of mistaken identity. Members of the La Linea group apparently mistook the vehicles for those belonging to the Los Salazar gang which operates in the Agua Prieta region.
The incident almost led to US President Donald Trump designating Mexican cartels as terrorists. The consideration faced tremendous pushback from Mexican leaders, including President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who stated that cooperation was better than taking such an extreme measure. The designation would have undermined US-Mexico security diplomatic channels and given American security forces the authority to attack cartels in Mexico without the government’s consent.
President Lopez Obrador has always taken a somewhat of a soft stance when dealing with the cartels. In October last year, he supported the decision to free Ovidio Guzman, drug lord Joaquin ‘EL Chapo’ Guzman’s son after his cartel sicarios overwhelmed security forces in Culiacan.
AMLO also came under fire in March for greeting El Chapo’s mother. He defended the move while explaining that his job sometimes entails shaking hands with white-collar criminals. He asserted that there was no harm greeting a 92-year-old woman who had his respect.