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Mexican Mayor Reportedly Behind Rise of Violent Cartel in Border State

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Luis Fernando Garza Guerrero is the mayor of Montemorelos in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. That’s not normally the kind of person anyone would be spending much time talking about.

The city in the Mexican border state is home to just over 60,000 people — not small, but not exactly huge. It’s just south of the Monterrey metropolitan area.

One might get a better idea why we’re talking about Garza when you consider his nickname: “El Dragón.” That’s not a moniker someone would bestow on, say, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. It’s earned, it seems; according to Breitbart, “El Dragón” has been letting Sinaloa Cartel enforcers into his city “in an apparent attempt to take control of drug trafficking routes and regional distribution.”

The gunmen arrived in the city in June, according to Breitbart, announcing their arrival with banners which identified the leader of the cell as a man known as El Gato or Felino. Mexican law enforcement sources also seized weapons and gear with Sinaloa Cartel insignias on them.

American law enforcement sources reportedly told the outlet they started paying attention when Nuevo Leon authorities arrested three Montemorelos police officers.

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According to Breitbart, the men were arrested “in connection with charges related to extortions, drug distribution, and assault — including the use of a paddle to torture their victims. One of the victims who was tortured was a political rival of Mayor Luis Fernando ‘El Dragón’ Garza Guerrero.”

“El Dragón” is apparently connected to the Sinaloa Cartel through a local drug trafficker known as The Stripper. He also had ties with Dannes Elizondo, an American citizen and convicted drug trafficker who was killed in 2018 by unknown gunmen in Nuevo Leon.

Elizondo had previously run cocaine shipments from Nuevo Leon to Houston and had ties with both the Beltran Leyva Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel.

“El Dragón” has been in office for three years and, according to Breitbart, has been met with some controversy due to both corruption and the hiring of organized crime figures.

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For instance, Antonio Lucas Martínez was hired as the public security secretary of Montemorelos after serving in that position in San Pedro, a wealthy suburb of Monterrey. Even though the former mayor of San Pedro is of an opposition political party, the National Action Party, he and Martinez are allies, the outlet reported, and Martínez’s hiring was a favor.

“Lucas Martinez had the same position in San Pedro but had to resign after he was linked to organized crime, including the forced disappearance of a teenager by his then police officers,” Breitbart reported.

“The forced disappearance and the alleged collection of bribes by Lucas Martinez have since been covered up by state authorities.”

The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Mexico, and American law enforcement officials have said the border crisis has enabled the group — perhaps most famous for being the criminal organization Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán hailed from, as Business Insider pointed out.

In March, Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County, Arizona, told Fox News that President Joe Biden’s decision to stop building the border wall had led to a “very violent situation” along parts of the border.

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“The Sinaloa cartel — they control all human smuggling in this county, they have control on drug smuggling in this county and we see it. It’s a very violent situation … when it comes to the cartels pushing people through,” he said.

“The bottom line, Mr. President, is you and I share one thing — the citizens of this country,” he added.

“And these reckless and hasty plans and executive orders only serve one purpose — to open up our country for public safety disasters.”

The problem isn’t just that there are massive cartels south of the border, waiting to take advantage of an administration that doesn’t take border security seriously. This would be bad enough, but consider the fact that authorities in Mexico aren’t necessarily acting to stop drug smuggling and human trafficking.

In some instances — as is allegedly the case with “El Dragón” — they’re acting to facilitate that kind of crime, instead.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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