Fear Of Drug Violence On U.S.-Mexico Border After Guzman’s Capture


With Mexico beginning the process of extraditing Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the U.S., how will the notorious drug kingpin’s recapture impact the region’s drug trade? After Guzman was recaptured last Friday, his fate, and the drug empire controlled by his Sinaloa cartel, hangs in the balance, Shannon O'Neil, a senior fellow for Latin America Studies and the director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells the Texas Tribune. “Whenever we've seen a leader taken out, the waves of disruptions that follow are often quite violent as others try to poach the territory or (because of) fighting within the Sinaloa cartel,” O’Neil said. “There is a likelihood that that could happen.”

From 2008 to 2011, Guzmán's group was partly responsible for the killings of thousands of people in Ciudad Juárez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, as it fought the Juárez Cartel for control of the drug corridors that extend into Texas and beyond. Despite his initial arrest in February 2014, a new report from the Congressional Research Service indicates Guzmán's empire could still control more than half of Mexico's drug trade. “The Sinaloa [drug trafficking organization] now controls roughly 40 percent to 60 percent of Mexico’s drug trade,” the report says. “It is known for trafficking cocaine, but moves all types of illicit drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana, to cities throughout the United States.”

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