Mexican drug cartels are marking their territory in Colombia. Locals in southwest Colombia, near the portal city of Tumaco, spoke of Mexicans who arrived at the end of 2012, “to put an order to the zone.” The Mexicans reportedly meted out tasks: those responsible for the coca cultivation, those who were to work in the cocaine cooking labs, and those assigned to transport the cocaine powder.
The Mexicans were part of the Sinaloa Cartel, an alliance of Mexico’s top drug capos, and they made it known they wished to be in charge of the drug business in Colombia. Intelligence said their motivation stems from a declining quality of the drug product reaching Mexico.
In Colombia’s Pacific Coast, the Sinaloa Cartel has allied with los Rastrojos, a criminal gang comprised of splinter paramilitary groups. The area is close to the border with Ecuador, and in recent months, authorities in Ecuador have seized one-engine planes and go-fast boats filled with cash and cocaine powder. The Sinaloa Cartel also has a presence in Cordoba department and Norte de Santander, which borders Venezuela.
The Sinaloa-Rastrojos alliance is a big concern: the Rastrojos’ main rival is the Urabeños, another gang comprised of splinter paramilitary groups, and the Urabeños are currently aggressively expanding drug trafficking throughout Colombia and are suppliers for the enemies of the Sinaloa Cartel, the Zetas.
Meanwhile, in Caqueta and Meta departments, FARC middle-ranked commanders are selling their drug trafficking franchises to the Sinaloa cartel. If the peace talks with the FARC go well and the FARC high commanders do disarm, the Mexican cartels will move in to take over the drug trafficking left in a vacuum by the FARC. It will also mean the Mexican cartels will form allies with possible FARC splinter groups.
The Mexican drug war is finding a new location in Colombia, and imagine the violence that will unleash.