I have always been curious what is life like for cartel capo daily. I feel like the media portray drug capo living lavishly but you have to wonder some of the small things we take for granted they cannot do.
For instance I don't see drug capo going to the mall or favorite restaurants without some sort of escort team bodyguard (which is still a risk of getting caught). They can't take their kids and families to public place without fear of being killed or capture. They might be rich and powerful but trade their freedom living in jungles and caves. Is that really living a better life than the rest of us?
I can't imagine sleeping every night and having to worry a raid is being planned to capture or kill you as soon as one mistake is made. That's a lot of pressure don't you think?
What are your thoughts on guys like El Mencho and El Mayo daily struggles to stay ahead of the law? How is their security protocol like? Personally I would make my security team not use any electronic since it could be compromise. I would use a courier to deliver message. I would definitely avoid living in dense neighborhood unless there is some underground route to escape.
There are many capo who got caught making these small mistake and it makes me respect El Mayo, El Chapo Isidro and even El Mencho even more. Because it's not that easy...I think it's easy to underestimate how hard it is for these capo to live and survive everyday. What are your thoughts?
I think the quality of life for these individuals varies based upon a number of factors. How much publicity are they getting internationally? What sort of an organization do they run, what is their reputation as a leader? Where are they based?
For someone like Cmdte Toro 'M-42' of Los Metros in Reynosa, I'm not sure his quality of life would have been all that grand once he took control of the plaza. Reynosa is a large city, certainly, but you frequently hear stories of even lower level sicarios and estaca commanders having to move locations sometimes as frequently as every hour to avoid capture by security forces or rivals. That's a very high stress life to lead, indeed.
For someone like El Mayo Zambada, who has an extremely long career in narco trafficking, and who keeps a lower profile one could speculate his experience to be hectic but perhaps less stressful. At least in terms of evading capture. One would think being out in the middle of the jungle affords you certain freedoms. You are surrounded by your own personal security detail and have a vast network of halcones that can warn you of any advances hours before they arrive.
Beyond this, you could have a number of different recreational facilities constructed for your usage so long as there is nothing that can result in your location being triangulated on. Moving between and within cities for a capo of his or Mencho's stature is likely an impossibility, but living in the jungle where you can still be visited is perhaps not as bad as it sounds.
At the end of the day, I'm not sure many of these commanders seek a life such as that by choice. Any rational Human being recognizes the issues in having to pick up and move house once every couple of weeks, but there's the possibility as well that after a certain level there's a kind of grey zone where you needn't worry too much.
For example, Dámaso López was arrested in a luxury apartment block in Mexico City. How is it that a Sinaloa capo was living care free in the country's capital city undetected for so long? Bribes and coercion. But, like Z-40, M-42, and all those before him who've fallen he attracted a little too much publicity. Public attention is any criminals worst nightmare, it forces the authorities to act in some capacity or another.
Which is partially why right now we even see massive raids on Mayo's production facilities, and an exhaustive manhunt for Mencho. In the latter case I think we can take lessons from the career of Z-40; any candle that burns twice as bright only burns for half as long.
In conclusion, existing in any capacity within such a volatile criminal environment is less than ideal.
Self-control seems to be the biggest trait.
1. Chapo's downfall was sex or female companionship. He also enjoyed certain restaurants. Most of the stories you hear about him revolve around one of these.
2. They say Mencho does not drink and is mostly faithful to his wife.
3. If you're going to be criminal, might as well be good at it.
Routine for most of these guys, not nearly as dramatic as some would imagine, and not nearly as mundane. A lot of waiting and coordinating relatively benign things, the intercepted calls and texts from Chapo's inner circle illustrate this.
I doubt Mayo spends his time thinking about war and El Mencho, he is more concerned with day to day realities and lifes small pleasures.
For the younger guys, cell leaders and plaza bosses, a lot more social life, purchase cars, dealing with various women, drugs and alcohol, the entourage, strip clubs and clubs.
Many are living relatively openly, guys like Hector Beltran Leyva, Omar Trevino, numerous others, were basically living well to do lives in metropolitan areas. When the heat increases, is when it all falls apart, and living on the run, once the DEA/US cuts into your team is only an illusion of freedom.
Re: Damamaso, he was not living care free, he had been pushed out of his stornghold, and was being hit in every direction, as his inner circle crumbled, after the 2016 kidnapping. A lot of these guys have residences in cities like, DF, there is so much money, so many people living a similar lifestyle, it is incredibly easy to blend in. Even if someone may "know" they don't know. Once your face gets burned, it makes it more paranoid existence to live, as you constantly wonder if you have been spotted, and reported. But, you change your appearance, keep a lower profile, and life goes on. It's a matter of time for everyone.
Topher: Of course a crowd of 300 people is a lot of heat but who’s to say how far apart these guards were from him, and how many levels of security he had. From it sounded like he had miles and miles of safety, much like Mencho we all seem to presume..
The proof is in both times he was caught. Both times he had very little security. First time was 1 guy sitting at his condo door. Second time was a handful of cholos men. He chose to live in urban areas which meant he couldn't roll around in 20 truck carvans.
Ah yes, well said. I should have taken more care in the writing of my post, but it was still quite early so I was a bit foggy. Of course the dissolution of Damaso's forces played a great detail into his where and when. But I think it is exactly as you say, life has the opportunity to be relatively normal until the heat of rivals or security forces is on them.
The same is said for here in Canada, where the majority of our organized crime groups such as the Hell's Angels, UN Gang, Red Scorprions and such seem to live fairly open lives or express themselves publicly without concern for public opinion or being spotted by rivals.
Many of the 1%er bikers have clubhouses with signs posting who they are, as well as websites on top of their already easily spotted patched vests. While gangs such as the UN wear hats, T-shirts and rings denoting their membership; and even inscribe the gravestones of fallen members in their sign.