A feared crime lord has assembled his troops and is preparing to wage war against El Chapo’s sons.
Rafael Caro Quintero is wanted by the FBI for ordering the notorious murder of special agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.
Former leader of the now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel, Quintero was released 28 years into a 40-year prison sentence on a technicality.
The 68-year-old – who featured in Netflix show Narcos – has now begun recruiting hitmen and formed the Caborca Cartel, Argentinian news website Infobae reports.
He has also allied himself with former members of El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel in the northern state of Sonora, contested for its drug trafficking routes in the US.
Security expert Dr Robert J Bunker, Director of Research & Analysis, C/O Futures, LLC, believes the force poses a serious threat to Chapo’s sons Jesus Alfredo Guzman, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman and Ovidio Guzman Lopez.
They have led the cartel since their dad’s extradition and imprisonment last year, and are vying for power with his ex-partner Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.
Dr Bunker told the Daily Star: “This open street war now taking place between old school narcos…and the ‘Princes of the Empire’ – Los Chapitos and their retainers – suggest that this threat is very real.
“Additionally, we have Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada involved in the Sinaloa Cartel power struggle with Los Chapitos.
“It would make political sense for ‘El Mayo’s’ faction to side with the Caborca Cartel at this point, adding another front to this internal conflict.”
In June, 12 people were found dead between the city of Caborca and the town of Sonoyta after Chapo’s sons encroached on Quintero’s territory.
In May, an ice box with human remains was found in the city, warning the Caborca Cartel was there to “clean up”.
Dr Bunker believes the conflict could spread throughout Mexico.
He added: “The Caborca Cartel…would actively seek to not only carve out their own territories but ensure they have adequate trafficking revenues from which to increase their numbers of gunmen and weapons and to bribe local and state Mexican officials to side with their faction.”
He believes the organisation may have “low-to-mid hundreds of gunmen”.
However, they could expand “into the high hundreds/low thousands when allies are factored in”.
Sinaloa Cartel troops led by El Mayo are currently battling for territory with the Jalisco Generation New Cartel (CJNG).
Earlier this month, they announced their arrival in the western Mexican state of Nayarit – dominated by the CJNG.
In a disturbing footage, gangsters announced the beginning of “Operation MZ” and vowed “justice”, even threatening local government officials, Sin Embargo reported.
The letters MZ refer to Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who has taken charge of the cartel since El Chapo’s extradition and imprisonment last year.