Extraditions signal continued Sinaloa impunity?
Mexico on Sept. 30 extradited 13 people to the United States—including two accused drug lords and several suspects in two high-profile attacks on US citizens. One was the 2011 deadly ambush of US immigration agents in San Luis Potosí state; the other the previous year's killing of US consulate workers in Ciudad Juárez. The two accused kingpins were Edgar Valdez Villarreal AKA "La Barbie" of the Beltran- Leyva Organization and Jorge Costilla Sánchez AKA "El Coss" of Los Zetas. The US Justice Department hyped the extraditions as signaling a new binational coordination following a June meeting between US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her Mexican counterpart, Arely Gómez. As AP noted, extraditions had fallen dramatically since 2012, the final year of President Felipe Calderón's term, when Mexico sent 115 people to face criminal charges in the US. Under President Enrique Peña Nieto, the number dropped to just 66 last year. (AP, Sept. 30)
A week later, Mexican authorities in Toluca arrested Jesús Areli Navarrete Castelan AKA "El Papayo" of Los Rojos, also wanted by the US on cocaine trafficking charges. Los Rojos are said to be the main rivals of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which Mexican authorities say was behind the abduction and slaying of 43 college students in Guerrero state last year. (AFP, Oct. 7)
None of these extraditions are likely to recoup Peña Nieto his dire propaganda losses following the July escape of Joaquin Guzmán Loera AKA "El Chapo" from Mexico's top-security federal prison. El Chapo, who had escaped from a federal lock-up a decade earlier and spent the intervening years as Mexico's most-wanted fugitive, is top dog in the Sinaloa Cartel. And an increasingly plausible conspiracy theory in Mexico holds that the government (along with the DEA) is protecting the Sinaloa Cartel. And none of these extradited figures are associated with Sinaloa Cartel. On the contrary, they are all from outfits engaged in a bitter and bloody rivalry with the Sinaloa Cartel.