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Inside the Game of Thrones-style war to replace El Chapo in the Sinaloa Cartel

May 4, 2017

The sight of masked federal agents frog-marching Dámaso López Nuñez out of an upscale apartment block in Mexico City on Tuesday morning prompted backslapping within the Mexican government. But the celebration couldn’t mask the degree of trepidation that clouded the arrest.

The capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s former right-hand man was the latest major blow to the Sinaloa Cartel, which has been in a state of upheaval since Guzmán’s capture in January 2016. But observers fear it will have significant blowback, resulting in an intensification of the already bloody dispute over this multibillion-dollar criminal empire.

The mixture of excitement and dread was evident in the comments given by Mexico’s president and top drug war general. While President Enrique Peña Nieto applauded “the detention of another key objective in the battle against crime,” Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos struck a more cautious tone, warning that rising violence in Sinaloa state “could be sustained by the power struggle” to come.

With rival clans committing ambushes, abductions and betrayals, the fight for Guzmán’s legacy has come to resemble a gangland Game of Thrones. Now that López, his apparent successor, is out of the picture, the conflict looks set to drag on…

Click here to read this article in full at VICE News

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