Friday, September 21, 2012

Routine traffic stop in Mérida yields Sinaloa Cartel "Boss of the Plaza" in Cozumel, Playa del Carmen

Quintana Roo capo for El Chapo Guzmán controlled narcotics trade in eastern Yucatán, police say

Mérida, Yucatán
On April 18 MGRR published an article which said the following: "A commando team of at least 50 hired executioners has arrived in Cancún to take control of the city's main plaza from two other warring groups. The executioners work for Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, a/k/a Los Matazetas, which allegedly is in close alliance with the most wanted narcotics trafficker in the world, Joaquín El Chapo ("Shorty") Guzmán. Guzmán escaped from a Mexican prison in January 2001, and runs the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, known in Mexico as Cartel del Pacifico. The United States claims that Sinaloa imports more drugs into the country than any other cartel. The U.S. and Mexico have offered millions of dollars in bounties for Guzmán's capture, and Felipe Calderón wants few things more than to take down the elusive trafficker before his six year term as president ends on Nov. 30."

The rest of that story, which describes a local drug trafficking war along Mexico's famous Riviera Maya coast, is here: 50 Matazeta executioners in Cancún to "recover the plaza" for Chapo Guzmán.

A piece of good luck on a Mérida street
"Check-point Charlies" are fairly common on the approaches to this state capital, a designated World City of Peace, and there are occasional ones within town. Heavily armed and well-prepared estatales (state troopers) run road blocks of sorts, looking for anyone or anything suspicious. Earlier this week they reeled in a big fish, a drug boss for the Sinaloa Cartel who controls lucrative markets in Quintana Roo state, including Cozumel island and increasingly violent Playa del Carmen.

Mateo Gabriel Domínguez Bouloy was arrested by Yucatán security forces at one such checkpoint in a good part of the city, near Plaza Alta Brisa, earlier this week. He was traveling with his own security convoy, according to a local press account, which was stopped for some minor infraction described as "administrative" in nature. But when his name was run through a national computer system he was arrested on outstanding warrants, including two kidnappings.

"El Mateo," as he's known, is from Cozumel, the child of a Yucatecan father and a mother originally from Belize. He lists his occupation as chile farmer, but police say he's the Godfather of the narcotics trade and other criminal enterprises on Cozumel, a place where drugs have a habit of washing ashore.

According to Quintana Roo officials, El Mateo launched his career as a drug trafficker on the island in 2000. He spent a few months in prison in 2006, but that didn't slow him down. He tried to ally himself and work with Los Zetas - one of the three major drug trafficking organizations in Quintana Roo, and perhaps Mexico's most violent cartel - but they rebuffed his overtures and killed one of his associates. Los Zetas wanted Cozumel for themselves, not to be shared with El Mateo. So he began to cooperate with Los Pelones, a local (but equally violent) narcotics distributor on the Riviera Maya coast, which is the sworn enemy of Los Zetas (the MGRR search engine will yield many stories on that subject).

Los Pelones have forged a temporary alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel of Chapo Guzmán, their mutual goal being the destruction of the very well-entrenched Los Zetas, who dominate drug sales, extortion, prostitution and other vice in the Cancún hotel zone, the Q.R. state prosecutor says. A fourth group, the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, commonly known as Los Matazetas ("the Zeta killers"), in turn works with both of the latter (at least for now) with the shared objective of putting the powerful Los Zetas out of business. The presence of these organizations along Mexico's Caribbean coast accounts for the rising tide of narco violence in Cancún, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and other tourism focused areas. It's not likely to end anytime soon.

El Mateo is no stranger to violence. Investigators say he's already confessed to ordering two murders on Cozumel. The victims were buried behind a safe house, according to El Mateo, although he cannot recall the precise location. A team of forensic personnel arrived on the island this week to commence a search for the remains.

Of greater interest to local authorities will be El Mateo's admission to Quintana Roo prosecutors that his Sinaloa-approved sales territory included eastern Yucatán state, perhaps explaining his brief, but very unlucky, visit to the City of Peace.

Sept. 22 - An interesting report, carried by the Milenio news service today, says El Mateo controlled the movement of drugs from Yucatán to the Riviera Maya, raising all sorts of interesting questions. It also says he's admitted to three murders, not two, and that he was carrying notebooks with names of corrupt Quintana Roo police officers who are on the Sinaloa Cartel payroll. Drug traffickers are busy in America's favorite vacation spot.

Nov. 12, 2011 - U.S. intensely focused on Yucatán security in 2008-2009, diplomatic cables reveal

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