So by now everyone knows that Nacho Coronel, the Ice King or King of Crystal, is dead. The army killed him in Zapopan, a well-to-do suburb of Guadalajara. This is huge news on several fronts:
a) The Sinaloa cartel is clearly not being protected by the federal government. Seriously, those accusations really seem so unfounded to me. Sons, brothers and nephews of Chapo and El Mayo have been arrested, killed and on some occasions extradited. Since the arrest of Vicente Zambada Niebla, every single man to take his place near the top of the hierarchy has been nabbed. This leaves Chapo and the other top dogs (El Mayo and El Azul) more isolated than ever, because they need to recruit new people to fill top posts constantly. People they don’t necessarily trust. Their whole system of operating has to adapt each time a big gun is caught.
b) Nacho Coronel was in Guadalajara. What is now the Sinaloa cartel used to basically be the Guadalajara cartel, when El Padrino Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was in charge in the 80s. (He was from Sinaloa but moved operations to Guadalajara when the heat was on in Sinaloa after the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena). Is the Sinaloa cartel returning to Guadalajara? Do they feel safer there than in Sinaloa, for some reason? A few months ago, there was a reported Chapo sighting in Zapopan – the very suburb Nacho Coronel was killed. Several other top Sinaloa lieutenants have been caught in Zapopan in the past year, too. Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, offers anonymity not found in the small towns of the Sierra – if Chapo for some reason is questioning the loyalty of the Sinaloan people right now, Guadalajara would be the place for him to go.
c) Of course, now that the authorities have got Nacho Coronel there, Chapo’d be a fool to stay. So where to now? I’d put money on the authorities catching him in Nayarit – where he’s long had a protective network – if I had some money to bet.