MEXICO CITY -- The recent killing of Ignacio Coronel Villarreal, a boss of the Sinaloa drug gang, by Mexican special forces is but the latest high profile killing in an increasingly violent campaign. But is a strategy of killing off Mexico’s drug kingpins really viable?
Mexico’s government has several options for ending the violence of narcotics-related organized crime that is devastating the country and corrupting and weakening its political system. Only two are advisable, but they are not easy to apply and success is not guaranteed.
Three years ago, President Felipe Calderón decided to deploy the armed forces in several states where the main drug gangs are established. Calderón is trying to check the gangs’ capacity for violence and diminish their economic resources, but he still has not been able to implement a plan that is both successful and minimizes the cost in lives.
The country’s two biggest drug gangs, the Sinaloa and Tamaulipas organizations, were once rivals, but are now allied against their former partners – the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, Beltrán-Leyva, and Zetas organizations – which appeared during Mexico’s long period of one-party rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).