Small Wars Journal

El Centro

Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 49: Paraguayan Prosecutor Assassinated in Jet Ski Attack in Colombia

Sun, 05/15/2022 - 6:29pm
Anti-mafia prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci from Paraguay was assassinated on a beach in Barú, Colombia near Cartagena while on his honeymoon with his wife who witnessed the murder. The attack—with the hallmarks of a “transnational hit”—occurred on Tuesday, 10 May 2022 when a pair of attackers infiltrated the beach riding a jet ski. Pecci specialized in prosecuting transnational organized crime and narcotics trafficking cases.

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 48: “Novo Cangaço” Style Urban Raid in Guarapuava, Paraná (PR), Brazil

Mon, 05/09/2022 - 7:04pm
A gang of about 30 armed criminals attacked an armored car company’s place of business in Guarapuava, Paraná (PR) at approximately 2200 hours (10 PM), Sunday 17 April 2022. The quadrilha (gang) used “Novo Cangaço” tactics, including explosives, blockades, and the use of hostages as “human shields.” They directly confronted police in the early stages of the robbery/assault to inhibit their response activities.

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Commentary: It Starts at the Top in Honduras: The Case of Juan Orlando Hernández, Drug Trafficking, and Organized Crime

Fri, 04/22/2022 - 6:05pm
Commentary by SWJ−El Centro Fellow Jonathan D. Rosen on the arrest and extradition of Juan Orlando Hernández, the former president of Honduras. The indictment and arrest reveals the intricate state-organized crime nexus in that Northern Central American Country.

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New Global Cities in Latin America and Asia: Welcome to the Twenty-First Century

Tue, 04/19/2022 - 4:24pm

Small Wars Journal−El Centro Fellow Pablo Baisotti has published a new book New Global Cities in Latin America and Asia: Welcome to the Twenty-First Century.  The book assesses the role of global cities while examining their social difficulties: organized crime, drug trafficking, slums, and economic inequalities. Dr. Baisotti includes researchers from a range of fields to interpret the role and future of megacities in Latin America and China. 

Baisotti Cover

The book is divided into two parts: Part I. Asia,: Center of growth and globalism and part II. Latin America: Opening , Globalization, and Crisis. Part II contains two chapter of specific interest to SWJ−El Centro readers. These are: Chapter 9, "Urban Conflict and Transnational Crime in Latin American Cities by SWJ−El Centro Senior fellow John P. Sullivan and Chapter 11, "Economy, Inequalities, and Cities: Chinese Influence in Latin America. New Global Cities in Latin America and Asia is available in Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback formats. 

Source: Pablo Baisotti, New Global Cities in Latin America and Asia: Welcome to the Twenty-First Century. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2022. 

Mexico’s 2021 Dark Network Alliance Structure

Mon, 04/11/2022 - 3:33pm

Small Wars Journal−El Centro researchers have published a working paper, “Mexico’s 2021 Dark Network Alliance Structure: An Exploratory Social Network Analysis of Lantia Consultores’ Illicit Network Alliance and Subgroup Data” at the Center for the United States and Mexico at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

MX Dark Networks

The research team was led by SWJ−El Centro Senior Fellow Nathan P. Jones, with contributions from SWJ−El Centro Fellow Irina Chindea, SWJ−El Centro Associate Daniel Weisz Argomedo, and SWJ−El Centro Senior Fellow John P. Sullivan.  "Mexico’s 2021 Dark Network Alliance Structure," maps out the network of alliances and subgroups within the two most powerful cartels in Mexico — the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación— and reveals key structural differences that could have important implications for policymakers.

Abstract: This paper assesses Mexico’s organized crime alliance and subgroup network structures. Through social network analysis (SNA) of data from Lantia Consultores, a consulting firm in Mexico that specializes in the analysis of public policies, it demonstrates differential alliance structures within Mexico’s bipolar illicit network system. The Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación’s (CJNG) alliance structure is top-down and hierarchical, while the Sinaloa Cartel is denser, particularly in the broader Tierra Caliente region. Additionally, our analysis found a sparse overall network with many isolates (organized criminal groups with no relations to other groups) and disconnected components. Further, we identified organized crime networks that might fill future power vacuums based on their network positions, following state or rival high-value targeting of major cartels. The implications of these findings are discussed, and policy recommendations are provided.

Source: Nathan P. Jones, Irina Chindea, Daniel Weisz-Argomedo, and John P. Sullivan, “Mexico’s 2021 Dark Network Alliance Structure: An Exploratory Social Network Analysis of Lantia Consultores’ Illicit Network Alliance and Subgroup Data.” Center for the United States and Mexico, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. April 2022.

Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 47: Woman with a Baby Arrested at Novo Rio Bus Station for Transporting a .50 Caliber Anti-Materiel Rifle in Her Luggage to Comando Vermelho Norte

Fri, 04/08/2022 - 12:11am
On 30 March 2022, a woman with a baby was arrested by at the Novo Rio Bus Station for transporting a .50 caliber anti-materiel rifle in her luggage. Her husband is a fugitive and one of the leaders of the Comando Vermelho Norte (Red Command North) in Belém, Pará, Brazil. The arrest was carried out by civilian police officers of the Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE – Drug Enforcement Division). The transportation of illicit items such as weapons, narcotics, and cash by females with young children accompanying them is a common gang and cartel trafficking method meant to throw off authorities.

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Information Warfare in Mexico’s Drug War: The Dámaso López (“El Licenciado”) Case Study

Fri, 04/01/2022 - 7:31pm
Information warfare is a critical component of Mexican cartels’ battle against the state and one another. Some cartels, such as the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), engage in propaganda campaigns portraying their military might focusing upon their armored vehicles and high-caliber weapons. Other times this may express itself as censorship and control over the media, e.g., story suppression and the killing of reporters. An interesting case that showcases how information operations (IO) are a critical component of the Mexican drug war comes from the internal struggle to control the Sinaloa Cartel that intensified when “El Chapo” Guzmán was extradited.

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Drogas, narcotráfico y pandemia en Argentina

Fri, 03/25/2022 - 6:27pm
Este artículo analiza el impacto de la pandemia de Covid-19 en la delincuencia y la violencia, relacionadas con las drogas en Argentina. Al contrario de lo supuesto al inicio de la pandemia, el narcotráfico en Argentina encontró una situación provechosa para su expansión hacia las diversas regiones del país, especialmente en el conurbano bonaerense, el área que rodea a la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (CABA) y que abarca 24 municipios en dos cordones y posee alrededor del 20% de la población total del país. Esta es la zona más pobre de la provincia de Buenos Aires (aunque no toda esta región es pobre), así como Rosario y sus alrededores, lo son para la provincia de Santa Fe. El crecimiento de la criminalidad se sustentó en la situación sanitaria, la debilidad del Estado con la creciente corrupción, y el aumento de la demanda de drogas. Dos consecuencias visibles fueron el resurgimiento de las “guerras de bandas” criminales y la baja calidad de las drogas (en su mayoría adulteradas), que causaron víctimas entre los ciudadanos (tanto por el consumo como por la inseguridad).

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Drugs, Drug Trafficking, and Pandemic in Argentina

Thu, 03/24/2022 - 4:01am
This article looks at impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on drug related crime and violence in Argentina. Contrary to what was assumed at the beginning of the pandemic, drug trafficking in Argentina found a profitable situation for expansion in various regions of the country, especially in the conurbano bonaerense, the suburbs or Greater Buenos Aires surrounding the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA)—the poorest area of Buenos Aires (although not all of this region is poor)—and Rosario and its surroundings, in the province of Santa Fe. The growth was sustained by the health situation, the weakness of the state with growing corruption, and the increase in demand for drugs. Two visible consequences were the resurgence of criminal “gang wars” and the low quality of drugs (most of them adulterated), which caused casualties among citizens, (due to consumption and insecurity).

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