Message from El Chapo to Z40: Gulf-Sinaloa Alliance Confirmed

Ostensibly Produced By: Sinaloa Cartel

Targeted Organizations: Los Zetas (enemy); Gulf Cartel (ally)

In the first week of July 2013, narco-messages were displayed publicly in the city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. reports the message as follows (verbatim)[1]:


“AL Z-40 y autoridades corruptas

Tenia que ser uste compa, lo mugroso no se le quita, se lo vamos a quitar, mire que mandar matar brazeros en Victoria, pinche enfermo, alli no te sobraron huevos Z-40, te faltaron… pero vamos a seguir limpiando Nuevo Laredo, ni el apoyo del “H” te va a servir .

Si pues compa. cada minuto que vive uste de más son mas inocentes que mueren, hagamos frente ojete y de la cara. que ni el apoyo de tu putito comandante Wenceslao Gaznarez, ni el de tu alcalde corrupto Benjamin Galvan te servirán.

Damos todo el apoyo al CDG, para limpiar de zetas a México.

ATTE. El Chapo Guzmán”

Guzmán’s leadership style is famously characterized by forethought and clarity in word, and purpose-driven resolve in deed. Like all narco-messages, this is both word and deed. While its delivery may seem crude and informal, its content surely has received consideration prior to its public dissemination – particularly if Guzmán is the message’s true source.

One notable aspect of this message is the central purpose of publicly re-affirming alliance with the Gulf Cartel in their efforts against Los Zetas in Tamaulipas. It is remarkable that this would need to be publicly stated, and it begs the question why this would be necessary in addition to (or instead of) more private conversations between decision-makers of the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels. Perhaps Guzmán perceives that certain suspicions abound within the Gulf Cartel that could prematurely jeopardize the Gulf-Sinaloa alliance in a manner that would not be advantageous for the Sinaloa Cartel. The important issue of whether these suspicions are realistic will be temporarily set aside for this analysis. For our limited purpose here, it will suffice merely to identify a few of them. These would include perceptions of Guzmán as being unceasingly expansionistic in his territorial aggression, untrustworthy in alliances and non-aggression pacts, and as an unswerving enemy of the Gulf Cartel. It is perceived by some that Guzmán’s true priority is to stop the advance of Zetas and their allies in Western, Central, and Southern Mexico, rather than along the Gulf Coast, which is most proximally the problem of the Gulf Cartel… and because of this, offers of “support” against the Zetas may lead to shared responsibility against a common opponent in the short term, but in the long term will hasten the expansion of Sinaloa Cartel territory around that of a beleaguered Gulf Cartel. The suspiciousness that characterizes the Gulf Cartel’s internal culture is also noted by Los Zetas, as evidenced by Z40’s mockery of their unity in publically displayed narco-messages against the “Cartels Unified Against the Zetas” (including the Sinaloa Cartel, Gulf Cartel, and Knights Templar).[2] According to similar logic, Guzmán belittles the Zetas’ alliance with the Beltran-Leyva Organization in this message (“H” stands for Hector), claiming the BLO will not help them.

Additionally, Guzmán may recognize the importance of countering the effects of enemy propaganda attacks upon his public image. For example, narco-messages ostensibly signed by Z40 (current leader of Los Zetas) publically attacked Guzmán’s trustworthiness by accusing him of collaborating with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and betraying his own operatives.[3] Another message ostensibly signed by Guzmán was disseminated in drug war social media networks. The content sharply criticized Gulf Cartel leadership and claimed that the Sinaloa Cartel has broken its alliance with the Gulf Cartel.[4] This message was probably disinformation produced by Los Zetas in an effort to complicate the collaborative efforts of their enemies. Though it was not disseminated repeatedly or widely enough to produce optimal effects upon the Sinaloa-Gulf alliance, the message is potentially dangerous to Guzmán’s nationwide strategy – hence his calculated response in publicly re-affirming Sinaloa support for the Gulf Cartel against the Zetas.

The location in which Guzmán had the narco-messages displayed also has considerable significance for the Sinaloa Cartel, Gulf Cartel, and the Zetas. Previous to the Gulf Cartel-Zetas schism in 2010, they fought together against the Sinaloa Cartel for control of Nuevo Laredo. Eventually, the Zetas (then allied with the Gulf Cartel) secured control over the valuable border crossing city, and maintains it to date (the Gulf Cartel has not controlled it since the schism). Nuevo Laredo therefore represents what the Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel have lost for different reasons, and what the Zetas feel they have earned by right. To hang narco-messages such as this in an epicenter of Zeta influence such as Nuevo Laredo reflects extreme animosity and continued determination to do what it takes – including temporary alliance with historical enemies in the Gulf Cartel – to push the Zetas out once and for all. Guzmán must be cautions not to prematurely alienate the Gulf Cartel with messages like this, as more experienced operatives (including its leadership echelon) will recall similar threats and derisions from earlier days when the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels struggled violently for that very plaza of Nuevo Laredo.


[1] Accessed July 7, 2013:

[2] Accessed July 7, 2013:

[3] Accessed July 7, 2013:

[4] Accessed July 7, 2013:


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