The Mexican government, with $1.5 billion from the U.S., is battling its drug cartels, and the cartels are battling one other, reports the New York Times. An organization called Arellano Felix has borne the brunt of these wars, fragmenting into smaller crews spinning across the border like shrapnel. “We believe there has been a splintering of the A.F.O. and that it has lost the power that they once wielded,” said Keith Slotter, FBI agent in charge in San Diego.
The illegal drug market has never been so unsettled, drug enforcement experts say, with small elite killing squads operating on both sides of the border. For three years, one rogue squad, a mix of U.S. citizens and Mexicans, used houses in tract developments as roving bases, hunting cartel members and imprisoning their prey along bland residential streets. They secured ransoms worth millions. Payment did not guarantee that the victims survived.