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The Beltrán-Leyva Cartel is a Mexicanmarker drug trafficking cartel headed by the five Beltrán Leyva brothers: Marcos Arturo, Mario Alberto, Carlos, Alfredo and Héctor.

The cartel is responsible for cocaine transportation & wholesaling, marijuana production & wholesaling, heroin production & wholesaling, controls numerous drug trafficking corridors, human smuggling, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, murder and gun-running.

The Beltrán Leyva brothers, who were formerly aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel, are now allies of Los Zetas of the Gulf Cartel.


Born in the Sinaloan countryside in the 1960s, the Beltrán Leyva brothers —Marcos Arturo, Mario Alberto, Carlos, Alfredo and Héctor— worked closely with Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, during decades of smuggling. Sensing a void in the rival Gulf Cartel after Osiel Cárdenas' arrest in March 14, 2003, the Sinaloa Cartel began to move into Gulf Cartel territory. Both gangs have been battling each other in northern Mexican cities since then, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people including civilians, police and journalists. The killings were so numerous that the President was forced to deploy the Mexican Army.

In 2004 and 2005, Arturo Beltrán Leyva allegedly led powerful groups of assassins to fight for trade routes in northeastern Mexico. Through the use of corruption or intimidation, the Beltrán Leyva Cartel has been able to infiltrate Mexico's political, judicial and police institutions to feed classified information about anti-drug operations, and has even infiltrated the Interpolmarker office in Mexico.

Switch of alliances

The arrest of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva (a.k.a.: El Mochomo) in January 20, 2008 was a huge blow to the Sinaloa Cartel, as he allegedly oversaw large-scale drug-smuggling operations and was a key money launderer for the cartel. In apparent revenge for the arrest of his brother Alfredo, Arturo ordered the assassination of the commissioner of the Federal Police, Édgar Eusebio Millán Gómez and other top federal officials in the Mexican capital. One group of these hit men was captured in a Mexico Citymarker house with dozens of assault rifles, pistols, grenade launchers, 30 hand grenades, and bullet-proof jackets bearing the legend FEDA — the Spanish acronym for 'Special Forces of Arturo'. Apparently, the Beltrán Leyva brothers blamed their boss Joaquin "Chapo" Guzmán for their brother's arrest,11/2008 > and ordered the assassination of Guzmán's son, 22 year-old Édgar Guzmán López, which was carried out in a shopping center parking lot by at least 15 gunmen using assault rifles and grenade launchers.

The residual impact of Alfredo’s arrest not only undermined long-term Sinaloa alliances, but resurrected animosities between rival cartel leaders Joaquin "Chapo" Guzmán and Arturo’s new allies, the Juárez Cartel, and provided the catalyst behind the bloodshed in Mexico’s most-violent city: Ciudad Juárezmarker. The Beltrán Leyva brothers, and those loyalists who departed the Sinaloa Cartel with them, have allied with Los Zetas, causing an escalation of conflict in strongholds shared uneasily by "old" Sinaloa leaders.


The Beltran Leyva brothers’ Colombianmarker cocaine supplier, Ever Villafane Martinez, was arrested in Morelos state in August 2008. Since then, the organization has pursued a relationship with Victor and Dario Espinoza Valencia of Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel.11/2008 />


Rewards of 30 million pesos ($2 million USD) are offered by the Mexican government for information that leads to the arrest of each of the Beltrán Leyva brothers and the cartel's top lieutenants: Sergio Villarreal Barragán and Édgar Valdéz Villarreal, a.k.a: "La Barbie".


  1. Mauricio Fernández Garza y su pacto con los Beltrán Leyva
  2. Planearon los Beltrán Leyva homicidio de Edgar Millán: PFP
  3. Mexico plagued by new wave of gangland murders
  4. Revela laptop operaciones de los Beltrán Leyva
  5. Sinaloa, en jaque por la violencia tras ser asesinado hijo del Chapo
  6. Mexico offers $2 million for top drug lords

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