Mexico: ‘Sorcerer’ Shot Dead Amid Escalating Cartel War
Hitmen in the Mexican state of Sonora have gunned down a member of the Sinaloa cartel and his family, amid what appears to be erupting into a savage conflict between two of the country’s most powerful drug trafficking organisations.
announced that Juan Francisco ‘El Brujo’ (‘The Sorcerer’) Herrera Ortiz, a reputed member of the notorious Sinaloa-based syndicate, had died after a hail of gunfire tore into his car at a public crossing in the Sonoran city of Guaymas.State police on Monday
A 30-year-old woman and ten-year-old child, whom local media have since identified as Ortiz’s wife and daughter, were also killed in the attack, with a further fifteen people suffering injuries.
Local press outlets La Verdad and La Opinion speculate that the killing of the Sinaloa cartel veteran may have been in retaliation for the syndicate’s execution of rival mob boss Raphael Caro Quintero’s nephew on Saturday morning.
Until recently, Caro Quintero, chief of the newly-formed Caborca cartel, had reportedly enjoyed a good relationship with the Sinaloa cartel.
Since the imprisonment of leader Joaquim ‘El Chapo’ (‘Shorty’) Guzman, the Sinaloa group has been taken over by Ishamael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada and two of Guzman’s sons, Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Ivan Archivaldo Salazar - known collectively as ‘Los Chapitos’ (‘The Little Shorties’).
The two organisations had reportedly been working together to stem the meteoric rise of the Sinaloa group’s notoriously violent rivals, the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).
But that fraternity appeared to have come to an end in late May, with the discovery of the dismembered remains of a Sinaloan trafficker on the home turf of the Caborca cartel, according to La Verdad.
Against the backdrop of one of Mexico’s most violent years on record - with more than 1,000 killed in the months between March and June - the killing of Juan Francisco Herrera Ortiz followed just hours after Reuters reported that the country’s government had updated its statistics on the number of missing persons, bringing the total up to 73,000.
Since former president Felipe Calderon launched a militarised campaign against Mexico’s notorious drug trafficking organisations in 2006, more than 6,600 bodies have been retrieved from illegal hidden graves around the country.