1. Do you think that we will ever see a drug lord like Amado Carrillo again? Somebody that united Mexicans from different walks of life into a common goal. Somebody that was business minded and respected by many. Somebody who didn't need to leave bodies lying around to terrorize and kidnap people to establish control. Could another Amado Carrillo survive in Mexico?
2. Is the Mexican government more likely to continue to use the cartels as pawns playing one against the other while getting the USAID? Either way all the drugs keep rolling across the border. With the Amado Carrillo type of leadership the lives of everyday Mexicans is much better.
Guys like ACF and Pablo Escobar are largely products of circumstance. Everything needs to be just so for it to be possible for someone like that to exist. Plus these guys came up at a time when cocaine, which is way more profitable than anything else if you can control the supply, was literally ten times bigger. So the short answer is no, we will never see another trafficker on that level. Things have changed too much in too many ways. I'm sure there will be some very powerful criminals in some other way in the future, but I'm pretty sure the days of big Coke being dominated by a very few guys are over with. The next kingpin will be in something we don't see coming, and it probably won't be drugs.
I don't think we will ever see another Senor de los cielos. He was the guy, that many respected and worked for and violence was kept as a last resort. Think of the guys that worked for him, Mayo, Azul, Chapo, Arturo, his brothers etc. Plus, everyone knows how big the piece of the narco generating pie is. That is why you see so many different factions spread all over MX and many don't like to share it.
I actually agree about Mayo. He is as big as anyone has ever been. He's also from the same generation as Amado and he came up in that same period, actually a while before, but still his life wouldn't be the same if he was coming up now. So yes, Mayo is at the level ACF was at, but he is the only one, and he will most likely be the last one.
As to the drug traffickers we "never hear about", guys like the Paredes Machados or the Herrera family, well they are mostly dead, in jail or retired. This drug war took a toll on all the narcos. We don't hear much about Amado's kids, the Carrillo Leyvas. I don't think they are major players, but they could become major players in the future. We don't hear much about Rafael Caro Quintero, there are rumors he is hooked up with CJNG, he could definitely be a player. I think there are a few plaza bosses who go back to the old days left, but not many. If we want to compare a narco don to anything like Amado, the only one left is Mayo. In the history of Mexican trafficking Mayo is a top 5 guy. I'd say 1) Amado; 2) Chapo; 3) Juan Garcia Abreggo; 4) Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and 5) Mayo. I would round out the top ten with 6) Rafael Caro Quintero; 7) Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo; 8) Benjamin Arellano Felix; 9) Juan Jose Esparagossa Moreno; 10) Hector Palma Salazar. There are some notable mentions like Osiel Cardenas, Miguel Caro Quintero, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, Juan Nepomunceno Garcia, and Arturo Beltran Leyva. That second generation (Amado, Garcia Abreggo, Mayo, Chapo, Azul) were by far the most powerful. This is because they were in charge when the U.S essentially took out the Colombian cartels and before that they were able to get fronted coke and got paid for half the load for smuggling it. This at a time when cocaine was huge in terms of profits partly because of crack and partly because people didn't know the risk and it was fashionable. For a time there the media, music and entertainment basically marketed it to rich white people, while poor black people (and all people of both races and all economic strata), smoked crack, freebased, injected and did lines. So in the beginning when the Colombians basically dominated there were just a few guys who controlled it. They became billionaires and then got taken out. The Mexicans took over. They became billionaires and mostly, eventually (Except Mayo and Azul) got taken out. That Mexican generation (Azul, Amado, Chapo, Mayo etc.) were full partners with the PRI at local and federal levels. In Mexico in the 70s, 80s and 90s, the government did not arrest these guys. They were not only allowed to traffic, they were full partners.
So here is why we will never see another Amado. Everything has changed.
1) The government is not with them anymore partly because of the violence due to the war, and the fact that grupo Altimoltico wants to attract foreign investment (this would require a book to write about), and partly because the election in 2000 did change things up in terms of old alliances.
2) Amado ran the Juarez cartel, but he had control over everything in Mexico that Garcia Abrego did not. Once Abreggo went down, Amado was THE MAN in Mexico for two years. Chapo at his height was only about half as powerful as Amado was. But when Amado died there were major power plays, first the Arellano's, then Chapo, then Azul and Mayo left Vicente, then Chapo went to war with Vicente, then new cartels sprung up (Los Zetas broke with CDG, La Familia broke with Los Zetas, Caballeros Templarios broke from La Famila, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion broke from Sinaloa, Cartel Independamente de Alcapulco broke with Cartel de Beltran Leyva etc, etc). Alliances were made and broken and the cartels fought wars on all fronts. This destroyed them. It really was like the fall of Rome with barbarians at the gates. I actually think Vicente, Rodolfo and Alberto Carrillo Fuentes were capable of running the cartel. If Chapo, Azul and Mayo didn't split, (along with the Beltrans, who then themselves split), things may have been very different. But it ended up as a multi sided war, usually a proxy war with gangs and corrupt police (Aztecas, AA, Linea, GN Etc.)
3) Cocaine and the destruction of the Colombian cartels made these guys. Now cocaine is not very popular compared to then. It is a special drug in terms of profit because the profits can be bottle necked. You can really control the supply. Also now cocaine does not just come up from Colombia almost exclusively as it did then. Now it comes from Peru, and Bolivia and is trafficked through Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Belize etc. In the old days, all of this was run by Juan Ramon Ballesteros, he was basically with the Colombians, then switched to work with the Mexicans, Amado in particular. So anyway, now there is no way that these guys can control the supply of cocaine and the territory and even if they did, the market is much smaller.
I really could go into many more reasons that we will not see another Amado, and that Mayo the last of the proverbial Mohicans, but its not a simple thing. Times have changed, drug trends have changed, things are much more diverse in many ways and although there will be some capos, it will be almost impossible to get back to that same level. I know this was long, I hope it made sense and I thank anyone who took the time to read it.
I limit all of my analysis to Mexico. A criminal of Amado's stature could potentially develop in some other country. Semion Moglievich for example, or Dawood Ibrahim. I'm just saying that no one will reach that level in Mexico. I'd actually say the same about Russia, because of the fall of Communism etc., but that's a whole other story. If I were to pick a country where the next major narco at the level of an Amado would appear, I'd say Venezuela. El Cartel de los Soles is pervasive and traffics tons of drugs to the highly profitable European and Brazilian markets. Corruption in Venezuela makes Mexico look clean by comparison. So when I say that there won't be another Amado Carrillo, I am only talking about Mexico.