“I think it will be harder to detect and determine who the heads are of these smaller groups, and by that defeat them,” Samuel Logan, the director of intelligence firm Southern Pulse and the report’s author, tells Danger Room. The reason why involves the complex and shifting allegiances and economics of Mexico’s drug trade, and the risks in killing or capturing drug lords. Like insurgent warlords, killing one can provoke more bloodshed as rivals scramble to fill the vacuum.
The report appears in the forthcoming issue of CTC Sentinel, a monthly security newsletter from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, one of the military’s premiere think tanks on terrorism. Now, as the Afghan war winds down, it’s turning its eyes to Mexico — and specifically, to the Zeta Cartel.