Death Of A Drug Lord

I don’t often write about the narco troubles that Mexico is enduring/being inflicted with/fighting (delete as you feel applicable)  because it gets more than enough coverage elsewhere. But last nights killing of one of the top drug lords by the military, and the video that I’ve posted below, is worth a post. It’s a pretty dramatic shoot out, captured on film, that took place in Cuernavaca, about a 40 minute drive to the south of the city from where I live. I say 40 minutes, but in Mexico that could range from 30 minutes (on a good day with no traffic and a slight disregard for speed limits) to a few hours!

President Calderon’s policies towards the drug cartels, and the use of the military to carry them out, are controversial to say the least. He’s sitting between a rock and a hard place in my opinion. It’s easy to say that drugs should be legalized, but for as long as the  president of the country north of the border disagrees with that point of view, it’s not a realistic proposal.

I do personally give Calderon some due respect though. By taking on the cartels in a country where his own army, police forces  and other security forces are so riddled with corruption and cartel agents, he is placing his own neck on the block. That of his family too. I don’t think he will be assassinated, but at the same time were it to happen, I don’t think I’d be terribly surprised. Anyway, on to the video, where you can see how the events were reported by Televisa.


10 thoughts on “Death Of A Drug Lord

  1. When enough people say drugs should be legalized, it will happen. That´s how it works. And, yes, most of these people must be over our northern border. And you know what? The tide is rising higher. It´s coming.


    • How many constitutes ‘enough’ though? Not a simple majority, that’s for sure. I’m not convinced it’s coming any time soon. I think it more likely (though still unlikely) that US troops will cross the border (with permission) to ‘help out’ before the legalisation option gets a fair hearing.


  2. Bob says:

    During my youth years I had the chance to get close look to the Mexican military. I was unlucky enough to get a “white ball” in the lottery that decides which members of your cohort have to enlist with the military to give one year of service. It wasn’t really “military service”: on Saturdays of that year I had to teach math and history to people who had not completed their basic education. The experience left me with a great impression of the men in uniform: they were disciplined, relatively well educated (for Mexican standards), and had a sense of pride that I have rarely seen among Mexican policemen.

    So I may be a bit naive in saying this but, personally, I don’t think corruption is the problem with getting the military involved in the drug war. Rather, I think that the problem is that their methods are –to say the least–too blunt. Reminds me of a certain other country that is currently trying to fight criminals with tanks, but at least they don’t do that in their own soil.


    • I think the Mexican military are a far more professional and competent force than the police, and I wouldn’t argue against your points. Nonetheless, although corruption isn’t anywhere near as endemic in the military, it’s there, and the main issue so far has been the heights it has reached.

      Was it earlier this year or last year that a senior figure in the military weas arrested for passing on Calderon’s itinerary to a cartel? When something on that scale occurs, it just needs one corrupt officer. With the cash the cartels have available, I would be surprised if there aren’t a few more insiders there.


      • Bob says:

        I guess I also agree with what you’re saying. I wouldn’t argue that there is no corruption in the military, but it is probably the less corrupt institution of all the Mexican security forces. The event that you mention (the arrest of a Major who passed information of Calderón’s movements to a cartel) is proof that military officers can definitely be corrupted. But the price tag (I remember reading that this particular guy had received $100,000 usd for one single piece of information) and the fact that he was arrested shortly after, tell the other side of the story: it takes much more money to buy them and the move is less likely to prove effective for the criminals.

        On the other hand, to get the job done, they are willing to do some things that are clearly questionable from a legal (and also moral) point of view. I read early this morning that, during the operation in which Beltrán Leyva was killed, they searched ALL appartments in the complex where he lived. I obviously doubt they had a warrant for doing that. And if they can do that in an upscale neighborhood of a mid-size city as Cuernavaca, I don’t want to imagine what they could be doing in the small populations where they regularly operate.


  3. Nez says:

    I did catch a bit of this story, whilst my mother was watching her trusty Univision news program. I didn’t see this footage though, until just now. I find it very disturbing. I have acknowledged what’s going on there and have read/watched/heard different details and facts, but it’s just not the same as actually watching these moments as they unfold. It makes it that much more realistic.

    Have you heard of the mexican “banda” that was caught performing for the Leyva’s?

    “Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norte were performing at the narcoposada hosted by members of the Beltran Leyva syndicate when sailors from the Mexican navy busted into the mansion…”

    I remember hearing of a whole list of artist’s that have performed for different drug cartels. What exactly goes through the minds of these people, that makes them so inclined to giving these private performances? If they’re simply fearful for their lives, then I guess I can’t blame them.

    After watching the clip above…well…at least Mr. Leyva enjoyed himself…for the Last Time thankfully.


  4. Kim G says:

    Fascinating video. The Mexican press is much less shy about showing gory details that the US media would hesitate to publish.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. I’d predict that there will be more bloody internecine fighting, and battles with other trafficking groups.

    I hesitate to use the word “cartel,” as it’s actually a misnomer. Cartels are businesses who cooperate to raise the price of whatever they sell, OPEC being the most famous example. Cartels don’t fight each other, though they may well cheat. (Something OPEC members also do.)

    Mexico’s drug gangs clearly aren’t cartels, but vigorously competing hooligans.

    Thanks for the post.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA


    • The longer the ‘vigorously competing hooligans’ battle it out amongst themselves, the better for everyone else, I think. The danger to society could come if one group becomes thoroughly dominant and looks to pick a fight with its full resources with someone else – say the government.


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