The rupture from Los Zetas left Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez and Antonio Ezekiel Cárdenas Guillén in full control of the Gulf Cartel. However, Ezekiel died in a shooting with the Mexican Marines in Matamoros, Tamaulipas in 2010, and Costilla Sanchez became the sole head of the cartel until his arrest in September 2012. Mario Cárdenas Guillén, brother of both Osiel and Ezekiel, became one of the top lieutenants in the organization after his release from prison in 2007. In addition, within the Gulf Cartel there is believed to be two groups—the Rojos and the Metros. The modus operandi ("mode of operation") of the Gulf Cartel changes whenever the United States attempts to strengthen their domestic policy in reinforcing the borders. When drug trafficking tightens, they usually invest in more sophisticated methods to smuggle drugs, recruit new members, corrupt more officials, seek new ways to remove obstacles that impede the immediate success of the organization, along with many others. Below is the basic structure of the drug cartel:
- Falcons (Halcones): Considered the "eyes and ears" of the streets, the falcons are the lowest rank position in any drug cartel. They are responsible for supervising and reporting on the activities of the Mexican military and of their rival groups.
- Hitmen (Sicarios): They are the armed group within the drug cartel; they are responsible for carrying out assassinations, kidnappings, thefts, extortions, operating protection rackets, and defending their plaza from the rival groups and the military.
- Lieutenants (Lugartenientes): The second highest position in the drug cartel organization; they are responsible for supervising the sicarios and halcones within their own territory. They are allowed to carry low-profile executions without permission from their bosses.
- Drug lords (Capos): This is the highest position in any drug cartel; they are responsible supervising the entire drug industry, appointing territorial leaders, making alliances, and planning high-profile executions.
It's worth noting that there are other operating groups within the drug cartels. For example, the drug producers and suppliers, although not considered in the basic structure, are critical operators of any drug cartel, along with the financers and money launderers. In addition, the arms suppliers operate in a completely different circle, and are technically not considered part of the cartel’s logistics.
Read more about this topic: Gulf Cartel
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