Feb 28, 2013

Why Killing Kingpins Won't Stop Mexico's Drug Cartels

The Atlantic
By Keegan Hamilton
February 27, 2013

The rumor started Thursday afternoon when the newspaper Prensa Libre reported that several narcos were killed during shootout in Guatemala's remote Petén region. Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez said one of the corpses was "physically very similar" to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, top boss of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. Other outlets, including the unfiltered drug war diary Blog del Narco, spread the word on Twitter, piquing the interest of the international press, and sending Mexican and Guatemalan officials scrambling to confirm the powerful drug lord's purported demise.

The rumor was soon thoroughly debunked. There was no shootout, let alone one that claimed the life of the modern day Pablo Escobar. (Lopez, the Interior Minister, later apologized for the "misunderstanding" and blamed contradictory reports for the confusion.) Not only is El Chapo still very much alive, his legend has grown larger than ever. Already a billionaire according to Forbes, the Sinaloa capo has supplanted Osama bin Laden as the State Department's top international target, and the Chicago Crime Commission recently named him Public Enemy No. 1, a title originally reserved for Al Capone.  Read more. 

1 comment:

  1. What, were there cartel heads sitting around waiting for the arrival of a demand for drugs? Was it not a demand and the human capacity for meeting it that created the entire network? Why would our government ever think killing the head of a cartel would change anything? Would killing the CEO of Wells Fargo change anything?

    Wait, give that strategy some time. Maybe there's something to it.