Violence in Chiapas over War between “Chapos”, CJNG, Zetas and Mara Salvatruchas

With blood and bullets, cartels continue territorial dispute in Chiapas, SEDENA report “Situation of Organized Crime Southern Border” reveals

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ.- Until a few years ago, there was only one cartel operating in Chiapas (the Sinaloa or Pacífico cartel). However, currently the territorial dispute is more complex and violent due to the entrenchment of other criminal groups, such as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, “El Mencho”.

According to confidential information from the Secretary of National Defense (SEDENA), this drug war is compounded by the presence of the Mara Salvatrucha, especially in the Soconusco or coastal area of Chiapas. These Central American “soldiers” have escalated violence in the area through crime and extortion, mainly in the municipalities of Tapachula, Huixtla and Ciudad Hidalgo, although they have also positioned themselves in the jungle, as well as in tourist cities, such as Palenque and its surroundings.

The gang members of this organization have spread fear in sectors such as transportation and have even burned vehicles and murdered drivers who are not willing to give in to the “protection racket”.

Another criminal group that has gained ground in recent years and even displaced Los Zetas (in the early 2000s) was the San Juan Chamula Cartel (CSJC), whose recognized leader is “El Caracol”, a group that heavily penetrated San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

In addition, the San Juan Chamula Cartel has specialized in human trafficking in trailers that easily cross the state and reach other states of the country, where they “unload” hundreds or thousands of migrants, mainly from Central America, who have to pay thousands of pesos to get to the United States.


Although SEDENA has not yet located the leader of CJNG in Chiapas, it is known that Juan Manuel Valdovinos Mendoza, “El Señor de los Caballos”, accepted a “juicy offer” from this criminal organization to leave his former group, the Cartel de Sinaloa, founded by Joaquín Guzmán Loera, “El Chapo”.

For this reason, confrontations have intensified in the region where his power is most established, Valle-Zoque, which includes the municipalities of Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Jiquipilas and Cintalapa, an area that was controlled by “El Chapo” Guzman’s cartel.

The same occurs in other regions, such as the Border, in municipalities such as Frontera Comalapa, La Trinitaria and Comitán, where confrontations and disappearances of people “are daily bread.”

In addition, in this region a group called “Maíz” arose, which is at the service of a cartel (it was thought to be the CJNG, but apparently it is the CDS), whose members offer “security” to residents of the communities or ejidos, but that, in reality, they are dedicated to intimidating leaders of peasant organizations or social defenders into joining them.

“Maíz” is blamed for a series of attacks, disappearances and other crimes: one of them was the kidnapping and torture of Isabel Trigueros, leader of the Social Movement for Land (MST), in Chicomuselo, in 2022.

Likewise, it was attributed the kidnapping of seven ejidal authorities of the Nueva Libertad neighborhood, municipality of Frontera Comalapa, on Wednesday, March 22nd; so far it is known that three of them were released.

However, the situation in the Comalapa Border area could have up to three antagonists, since in addition to the CDS and the CJNG, another cartel, Los Huistas, from Guatemala, also dispute territory, according to information from SEDENA in the document entitled “Situation of Organized Crime Southern Border”.

According to the military institution itself, currently, in Chiapas, the Pacific or Sinaloa Cartel is in the hands of Isidro Rivera Ramírez, son of the boss and former right-hand man of “El Chapo” Guzmán, the late Gilberto Rivera Amarillas, “Uncle Gil ”.

Meanhile, on the part of La Mara Salvatrucha, the name of Luis Alberto Ramírez López, “El Chino” or “La Chinona”, who is in charge of the border municipality of Tapachula, stands out, and, José Guadalupe Escobar, “El Esleepe”, who controls the Palenque area.


According to an investigation carried out by La Silla Rota, since 2012 the situation began to worsen in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, first, with the appearance of the brothers Mario, Manuel and Javier Collazo Gómez, originally from San Juan Chamula.

However, they split and it was Javier who decided to tip the balance towards illegal issues such as the sale of drugs, weapons, as well as the distribution of pornography, among other no less serious crimes, specifically in the Northern Market of this colonial zone.

The years of the San Cristobal government headed by Mariano Díaz Ochoa (also re-elected for the current three-year term), saw the appearance of Narciso Ruiz, president of the Association of Tenants of the Traditional Markets of Chiapas (Almetrach) and his cousin, Jerónimo Ruiz, who was assassinated this Monday in a neighborhood of San Cristóbal, by two individuals who were traveling on a motorcycle.

Nevertheless, Narciso, according to the information available, gained more strength with the arrival of Mayor Marco Antonio Cancino González, from the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), who gave him all the power in that Magical Town that currently has with around 220,000 inhabitants.

Sometime later, a character named Enrique “D”, known as “Oso Bimbo”, appeared on the scene and won two “squares” for Narciso and Jerónimo: these properties are the “Castillo Tiélemans” Public Market and the so-called Mercadito II , where drugs and weapons are also distributed and the sale of pornographic material is recorded.

According to one source consulted, Jerónimo’s death “was already seen coming”, because he and his cousin Narciso toughened the collection of fees for merchants in places like the Plaza de Santo Domingo, where there are hundreds of stalls, mostly with sale of clothes and crafts.

Jerónimo’s death intensified the violence this Monday in San Cristóbal, where two “motonetos” were also murdered; they are related to the death of the leader of “Los Jerónimos”.


With the intervention of the Collazo Gómez brothers, arms arrived in San Cristóbal territory; However, this city was “Colombianized” and, by 2020, executions on motorcycles were already commonplace, one of them being the death of the indigenous prosecutor Gregorio Pérez Gómez, in August 2021.

At the local and national level, the hit men, the majority of whom are indigenous youth, were dubbed “Los Motonetos”, but in reality there are at least five different gangs that operate for different bosses; among these groups are “Los Vans”, “Nueva Fuerza” and “Los Jerónimos”, the latter led by Jerónimo Ruiz, also known as “El Artesano”.

Since then, confrontations and murders have been a daily occurrence in this Magical Town that, this Monday, experienced yet another episode of violence.


In an interview, the leader of a social and peasant organization in Chiapas, who prefers to remain anonymous, confided to LSR that, given the increase in violence due to the presence of drug cartels, they had no choice but to retreat.

If they want to exert any kind of pressure against the government to obtain support for people who need it, he says, they do it more discreetly. However, he accepts that opposing extractive projects or other plans that “come from high places” would cause their death, since these cartels are used to curb any type of social discontent. “To shut us up at all costs.”

The dispute between the drug cartels to gain more ground in Chiapas continues to leave a trail of blood: so far this year, around 20 dismembered and bagged bodies have appeared in different parts of Chiapas, another way the “narco” makes its presence felt in a region.

The latest case was that of a man found dead in the municipality of Ocozocoautla, some 30 kilometers from Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The victim appeared in an advanced state of putrefaction and his head was wrapped in a black bag; According to the information available, he could be related to a criminal group, because in an image that was circulated, he appears with a cap with the embroidered letters “JGL”, in reference to the drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán Loera, “El Chapo”.

Original article at
Translated by Schools for Chiapas.

Want to receive our weekly blog digest in your inbox?

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top