Something terrible has happened in the dark world of drug trafficking. A group of 150 armed men broke into the recondite community in La Tuna (Sinaloa), according to first accounts of the events, and looted the mansion of the mother of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, El Chapo. The attack on this sacred turf of the most powerful drug dealer in the world left a trail of blood and terror. According to Ríodoce, at least three people died of gunshot wounds while other sources say there were eight casualties.
The move was a warning shot. El Chapo’s devotion to his hometown and his mother is well known. The famed drug lord was abused by his father, and his mother raised him and his 11 brothers in poverty. She stayed in the small town of fewer than 100 residents when her son reached the top ranks of the Sinaloa cartel. “You raise your children and in the end they make their own paths. He will always be my son, and I will always be his mother,” she said two years ago when she found out her son had been captured.
La Tuna, located in the municipality of Badiraguato, is part of one of the golden triangle, a craggy and inaccessible area between Durango, Chihuahua and Sinaloa that has become one of the greatest producers of opium in the Americas and a nightmare for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. In this feudal sanctuary where Guzmán Loera is known as “The Lord,” the attack on Saturday could be taken as a declaration of war. Or vengeance for reasons hidden among the shadows in the hills of Sinaloa.
No one has claimed the attack but specialists say the hit was a settling of scores among members of the Sinaloa cartel
Witnesses told local media that the small army of men arrived in mid-morning and broke off into small groups. One ransacked the mansion where Consuelo Loera lives. They stole three cars, three motorcycles and cut the telephone lines. The matriarch, at first, did not sustain any injuries. The other groups attacked other places in town. They dragged a neighbor out of his home and killed him in the street. Many residents have fled for fear of an imminent blood bath.
No one has claimed the attack. Specialists such as Cynthia Valdéz say the hit was a settling of scores among members of the Sinaloa cartel. Loera’s sons, Iván and Alfredo, known as Los Menores or Chapitos, may be at odds with the direction the criminal organization has decided to take under the leadership of such legendary capos as Mayo Zambada, an outlaw who has never been detained. Constant scuffles have led to this warning shot straight at the the most precious place in Los Chapitos’ turf.
Other sources say the attack was carried out by the Beltrán Leyva cartel, old and fierce rivals of El Chapo. For years, the two groups fought a war that horrified the nation. Guzmán Loera had hired them as a paramilitary wing until the Beltrán Leyva brothers turned on El Chapo in 2008 after one of their men was killed. They believed he had been betrayed. The brutal attacks and counter-attacks even touched the top boss when one of his sons, Edgar, was killed by 15 hitmen in a shopping mall in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa.
The conflict lasted a while but as Beltrán Leyva bosses fell, the organization gradually lost ground. In January, the group’s latest leader, Francisco Javier “El Panchillo” Hernández García, also known as “El 2000,” was captured. But the arrest and imminent extradition of El Chapo may have lit their spirits anew.
El Chapo has yet to reply to the authors of that mysterious attack in La Tuna, whomever they may be.
English version by Dyane Jean François.