Small Wars Journal

El Centro

Criminal Distancing: Drug Cartels and the State during Covid-19

Tue, 02/02/2021 - 6:24pm
Drug cartels and gangs are embracing both familiar and new tactics to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in challenges to states. These challenges include" disruption, penetration, and adaptation. Additional research and data is needed to gauge the impact of this criminal exploitation and its influence on states.

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 34: The Ranfla Indictment and the Command and Control (C2) Targeting of MS-13’s ‘Board of Directors’ in El Salvador

Mon, 01/25/2021 - 3:36pm
The 31-page Ranfla Indictment filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York on 16 December 2020 and unsealed on 14 January 2021 is a product of Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV). The indictment follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) kingpin strategy of targeting the upper echelon of Mara Salvatrucha’s (MS-13) leadership—the Ranfla Nacional in El Salvador—with the intent of demolishing its command and control (C2) structure. The extradition of the eleven imprisoned Ranfla members from El Salvador to the United States (three are still at large) to stand charges represents a component of the indictment presently being explored. Of strategic concern is the Ranfla’s ability to direct MS-13 clica (clique) activities within the United States.

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Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #48: Video of CJNG Engagement of Autodefensa Mounted Infantry in IAFV in La Bocanda, Michoacán

Wed, 12/30/2020 - 6:15pm
In the ongoing conflict in Michoacán between the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) and local defense forces coordinating amongst themselves and with local cartels, a recent engagement took place in which an autodefensa (self-defense group) improvised armored fighting vehicle (IAFV) was engaged by small arms fires. The engagement, caught on video from the perspective of the mounted infantry and reporters in the armored truck bed of the IAFV, took place in La Bocanda—a CJNG stronghold—in mid-December 2020.

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SWJ El Centro Book Review – Mexico’s Drug War and Criminal Networks: The Dark Side of Social Media

Mon, 12/28/2020 - 7:12pm
This book review of Nilda M. Garcia's "Mexico’s Drug War and Criminal Networks: The Dark Side of Social Media" by Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera focuses on the exploitation of cyberspace by Mexican criminal networks through three case studies of the Sinaloa Cartel, the Zetas, and the Knights Templar.

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Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 32: Former Governor Assassinated in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco ZFTWARNING Wed, 12/23/2020 - 11:49pm
An assassin (sicario) shot former Jalisco governor Aristóteles Sandoval in the bathroom of the Distrito/5 bar in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco on Friday, 18 December 2020. He succumbed to his injuries. The Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) is suspected; however, other actors and political motivations can’t be ruled out in this direct attack.

Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #47: Anti-CJNG IAFV Trenches Dug in Michoacán

Fri, 12/11/2020 - 3:00pm
The ongoing Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) offensive into Michoacán has been met by the creation of defensive trenches dug across multiple state highways/roads in mid-November 2020.  These anti-improvised armored fighting vehicle (IAFV) trenches were created by Los Viagras, Carteles Unidos, and/or local community self-defense groups (autodefensas) in an apparent co-ordinated effort to obstruct CJNG commando unit—consisting of IAFVs, monstruos (monster trucks), narcotanques (narco-tanks), and soft-skinned vehicles and gun trucks with mounted infantry elements—access to towns under their control.

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The Guardia Nacional (National Guard): Why a New Militarized Police in Mexico

Tue, 12/08/2020 - 11:00pm
After months of political debate, the Guardia Nacional (National Guard) proposed by Mexicos new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was formalized on 27 May 2019.[ ] However, it remains a source of heated controversy. Some critics claim that it was unnecessary since Mexico already had a Policia Federal (Federal Police - PF). Human rights advocates and some security specialists argue that its military traits exacerbate the risk of abusive use of force and the militarization that prevailed during the Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña (2012-2018) Administrations. The purpose of this essay is to examine why a new law enforcement institution was created and designed as a civilian-military institution.

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