Helpful information for Americans to understand as illegal immigration grows and cartels infiltrate our cities.
Ajuste de cuentas (m): Settling a score. Getting even. Revenge. alt. ajusticimiento
ATF: Agency of Department of Justice— the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Aztecas (los): Barrio Azteca. Narcomenudistas (small drug dealers) and street enforcers working for Juarez cartel. A street gang with strong ties to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. They are found operating in penitentiaries and the streets of both border cities. They are controlled by La Linea, the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel.
Beltran Leyvas: Brothers and childhood friends of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman. Broke up with El Chapo after the arrest of El Mochomo Beltran Leyva and engaged in a bloody dispute for territory. Relocated to Nuevo Leon in aftermath.
C.T.: Caballeros Templarios
Cartel: Organized crime syndicate or organization, US governmental law enforcement agencies use the term Drug Trafficking Organization or DTO.
Cartel del Poniente: A place of the Sinaloa cartel usually found in Durango and Gomez Palacios
C.D.G.: Cartel Del Golfo or Gulf Drug Cartel
CDN: The Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) is a Mexican criminal organization that is a product of a split from Los Zetas, born as a result of the arrest of its last absolute leader: Omar Treviño Morales, “Z-42.” The current leader is Juan Gerardo “El Huevo” Treviño Morales.
CECJUDE: Centro de Ejecución de las Consecuencias Jurídicas del Delito.
Chapos or Chaparrines: The people of Joaquin Guzmán Loera’s Sinaloa Cartel. Derived from Guzmán’s nick name of “El Chapo.”
Charoliar: Pretending to belong to a cartel and having a lot of inside knowledge of cartel activities.
CNDH: Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos.
C.J.N.G: Cartel De Jalisco Nueva Generacion or Jalisco Cartel New Generation. Mexican cartel based in Jalisco and headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, “El Mencho.”
C.N.G.T.: Cartel New Generation Tijuana, is an allied group with members of CAF and CJNG. The alliance was created to establish control of Baja and quell the Sinaloa Cartel, after CAF became weakened.
C.O.: Organized crime group
Coddehum: la Comisión de Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (Chihuahua).
Cortar cartuchos: Armatillar. Ready to fire. to cock a weapon.
Cuerno de chivo: AK-47, the preferred weapon of drug cartels. Some (e.g. Roberto Saviano) have claimed that the AK-47 has been used to kill more people than any other weapon.
DTO: Drug Trafficking Organization, a term used by the US government.
El Señor de los Cielos: Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the Lord of the Skies who helped consolidate the Juárez cartel. He died in 1997 undergoing plastic surgery in Mexico City (Polanco).
Encajuelados: Victims found in the trunks of cars.
Encintados: Victims found bound and blindfolded with duct tape.
Encobijado: a common way that sicarios dispose of bodies — wrapped in a blanket, rug, or tarpaulin and taped.
Estacas: 3 or more armed persons in a vehicle patrolling their territory. Lookouts.
Familia (also LFM or LF): ‘de Michoacan’. DTO that specializes in synthetic drugs (crystal) and with a religious code. Extremely violent and unpredictable.
FFL: US legal term for federal firearms licensees. Approximately 6700 operate in American Southwest.
Foco: Crystal meth.
Fuero (el): (jurisdicción) jurisdiction (privilegio, derecho) privilege.
GATE, GAFE, GOES: Are acronyms for Special State Police, names vary with states
Gente Nueva (la): Sicarios of the Sinaloa Cartel mostly found in Chihuahua and Sonora. Formed by loyal sicarios to Sinaloa Cartel such as Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, “El Jaguar and Noel “El Flaco” Salgueiro
Guachicol: oil product stolen from PEMEX and then sold back to business under duress. A practice common in Tamaulipas.
Halcon (los): There are two meanings here. In the border area, “halcones” are lookouts and street level informants (falcons/hawks) who warn the drug cartels about intrusions from other DTO’s, police or army manoeuvers. Halcones are also an elite squad of commandos that have a notorious reputation for violation of civil rights and abuse.
Hormiga (el correo de..): An ant run. Big result of lots of little additions and purchases.
ICESI: Instituto ciudadano de estudios sobre la inseguridad.
IOI: US DOJ-ATF agents investigating gun movement. Industry Operations Investigators.
Jefe de Jefes: Capo de Capos. The name applied to the most prominent drug chief in Mexico. Most frequently is associated with Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. Popular corrido of Los Tigres del Norte, although Miguel Felix Gallardo denies that the song is about him.
La Última Letra: Los Zetas (Last Letter, “Z”)
Levantón (m): Abduction. Term used in northwest Mexico to describe forced seizure of a person. Most of the time, the “levantado” is never seen alive again. Secuestro is the term used more often to describe kidnapping.
Linces (los): a unit of sicarios employed by “El Viceroy” Vicente Carrilo-Fuentes and the Juárez cartel. May have evolved from “La Linea”. This group is apparently composed of military deserters (like the Zetas) who are well trained, use military ordnance, uniforms and vehicles. The Mexican military argues that this group is responsible for most human right violations in Chihuahua.
Linea (la): The armed wing of the Juarez Cartel.
Los Viagras: Michoacan cartel founded in 2014 by the Sierra Santana brothers. The first splinter group of Caballeros Templarios. Alliances are with Cartel Jalisco New Generation headed by El Mencho. Viagras were responsible for the creation of the H3 (Buenavista) the “fake” autodefensa group, headed by “El Americano”.
Matapolicia (f): bullets of heavy calibre that can penetrate vests. Police killers — ordinance used when attacking police or members of the military.
Matazetas (los): Los Matazetas (Zeta Killers) were created in 2007 by the Cártel del Pacífico headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, “El Mencho” who would emerge to form the powerful Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG). The Matazetas were rumored to be the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS) to fight Los Zetas in places like Veracruz against Zeta leader Heriberto Lazcano, “El Lazca.” In 2011 Los Matazetas dumped 35 bodies, said to be Zetas, during rush hour in the city of Boca del Rio, Veracruz.
Maña: a local name for cartels in Tamaulipas, most often used to refer to Los Zetas or other sicarios working for Gulf cartel.
Mota (f): marijuana.
Narco: General term for drug trafficker
Narcobloqueo: A barricade in the streets with vehicles that are carjacked to delay the arrival of the police or military.
Narcocorrido: a version of a corrido that deals with a drug theme. Some narcocorridos are commissioned by the drug dealers in order to “sing their praises”, but others share much in common with morality plays because they sing about the negative consequences of drug dealing.
Narcofosa: narco cemetery; body disposal place, usually clandestine and used for a period of time. Have been found in at least 9 Mexican states.
Narcomanta (f): a banner or a poster placed in a prominent location with a message. Most frequently, the messages seem to originate with the drug organizations, but the message may also be aimed at the drug trafficking organizations.
Narco tienditas or picaderos: Businesses where they traffic drugs.
Operation Coronado: The code term for the DEA/FBI/ICE coordinated arrest of La Famila de Michoacana members on Oct. 24 2009.
Pelones (los): sicarios that were originally assembled by the Beltran Leyva brothers for the Sinaloa Federation.
Perico (m): cocaine. A parrot. Nickname based on the idea that it “goes up the nose”.
Pez gordo (m.): big fish, big boss.
PGR: La Procuraduria General de la Republica. The institutional agency of the Mexican Attorney General.
Pista (f): the ‘game’. Literally, ‘the track’ as in racing. Refers to the business at hand.
Plata o Plomo: Silver or lead, the cartel way giving an ultimatum, pick silver (money, pay off, bribe) or lead (bullet).
Plaza (f): Territory, turf. Can also refer to the product being moved or in dispute. A town or city where a plaza boss or cartel cell controls narco activities for a cartel
P.M.: Military Police
Polizetas: Policemen at the service of the narcos. It originated from Nuevo leon, Tamaulipas region where the police were deeply embedded with the Zetas.
Pozolero: A person within the cartel who has a knowledge of chemistry and disposes bodies.
PROCAMPO: Federal program to provide financial support for farmers and ejiditarios. In reality, it has been a cash-cow for agribusiness and PRI party members. Little of the original program (to provide irrigation etc.) has benefitted the poorest farmers.
Project Gunrunner: US DOJ and ATF plan to disrupt illegal flow of guns from US into Mexico.
Rematar: literally “to re-kill”. the prefix re is used to indicate “once again” when it precedes a verb. rematar is used when a means of execution is especially brutal, and also used to mean “slaughter”, “finish off.”
S.D.R: Situation at Risk (violence erupted).
P.S.D.R. Possible situation at risk
Sicario (m): the word used to describe an “assasin” or hitman for the cartels. The word has roots back to Roman times. Sicarios are sometimes young and “throw-away” bodies recruited by the cartels, but can also be well-trained military deserters or police (e.g. Los Zetas).
Sistema SNSP: Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública.
SSP: Secretaria de Seguridad Publica.
Straw purchasers: surrogate purchasers of guns— someone who is licensed to purchase a gun but does so on behalf of someone who is not. Cartel sicarios have a system of straw purchasers.
T.C.O.: Transnational Criminal Organization
Tiendita: Excact location where drugs are sold.
UIFA: Unidad de Inspección Fiscal y Aduanera.
WATCHIVATO: Mexican “narco artist” who has produced iconic images of Jesus Malverde.
Wathivato (El): Mexican artist famous for narco images.
Zetas, (los): also known as la Compañía. Paramilitary force formed by Gulf Cartel and now independent. Deserters from Mexican army GAFE unit; highly trained anti-terrorist unit.
Jack is a veteran investigative reporter with reliable sources and extensive experience traveling in Mexico (over 120 times) and the Texas Rio Grande Valley.
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