Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison might lead to more instability within the Sinaloa Cartel, but its effect on Sonora, is still unknown, officials said.
“Some of the up-and-comers may have maneuvered themselves into better positions while he was away,” said Erica Curry, a Phoenix spokeswoman with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“We are anticipating that El Chapo with his people may reassert his influence,” she said. That might lead to resistance from those who had positioned themselves in leadership roles.
The Sinaloa Cartel has decentralized over the past few years, leading to sporadic, violent power struggles between plaza bosses in northern Sonora.
So far this year, dozens of people, mostly believed to be associated with organized crime, have been killed in the Sonoyta and Caborca regions, across the border from Lukeville, Ariz., due to fighting between cells of the Sinaloa cartel known as Los Memos and Los Salazar.
“It will be interesting to see if that (violence) increases as different factions of the cartels, the lower level members are fighting out there and how they aligned themselves with El Chapo’s return,” Curry said.