Roughly three years ago now, Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman Loera’s faction of the Sinaloa Federation began to acquire significant assets in Canada. Chapo is a micromanager and he began to spend summers in British Columbia and Alberta primarily — and he liked what he saw. One of his long time allies, Vincente Picos began to spend hundreds of millions to acquire ranches and infrastructure throughout Canada in preparation for the organization to take on a fundamentally new character. Since Canada, the country (34.4 million population) has fewer people than California, the US State (37.7 million), the targeted market was never Canada, though they were willing to sell there**
**Example: Jimmy Cournoyer (currentlly in custody) supplied John Venizelos (LCN – Bonanno crime family) with marijuana and cocaine products that he distributed to the hungry New York City market. John Venizelos contends that he is not a drug dealer. He manages night clubs in New York City and a strip club (Crazy Horse Too) in Las Vegas, NV. Cournoyer bought his cocaine from Chapo in Canada with profits from his BC Bud sales to the Hell’s Angels (who specialize in methamphetemine products).
As the situation in Mexico became increasingly competitive and dangerous, Chapo found that the cost of doing business increased proportionately and had sent Vincente Picos to Canada, where he had been very successful in transporting narcotics across the lightly/unguarded US/Canada Border. The Canadians had absolutely no understanding of Mexican traffickers or their organizational methodology and the scrutiny that Mexicans suffered under in the US was completely absent in Canada. East-West Interstate highways in Canada were not subject to extreme profiling and the loads made it almost all of the time. While a wholesale move to Canada was a serious paradigm shift, it made business sense.
During this time, USGOV received regular reports that Chapo Guzman,
elevated to the most sought man in the world after the SEAL’s ended Osama bin Laden’s career, was spending summers in Canada
. USGOV even had a relatively good idea where Chapo was staying from a regional point of view. That intelligence filter down to the DEA managed US/Mexico Border Task Force types who were “hunting Chapo” in Mexico, but most of them weren’t up to the game in the first place. The relative quality of federal law enforcement types being shuttled into these task forces had declined steadily since early 2000’s. By 2013 they became a running (“bottom feeder”) joke at places like EPIC and in the “basement” at the CNC.
Los Caballeros Templarios (LCT) more or less owns Washington State. It’s not a turf ownership in the sense of the 22nd Street Crips owning a piece of all of the crime that’s happening on 22nd Street. They had the infrastructure to ship from Michoacan and Gurrero where they primarily control the Mexican turf (Port of Lazlo Cardenas and Manzanillo to a lesser extent) and to distribute primarily cocaine and methamphetemine products to Seattle and the region stretching through the Indian Nations, east to Spokanne and the Idaho Panhandle, and down into Boisie, Idaho.
In order to both reassure LCT and to use their supply pipelines when they needed to move product, Chapo made peace with Servando (La Tuta) Gómez Martínez and Nazario Moreno González, known as El Más Loco, who is still alive despite reports from MEXGOV to the contrary. This truce, set in place two years ago, is still holding primarily due to the fact that Chapo is withdrawing from Mexico, moving funds to China and getting out of the traditional Mexican game.
The Canadians were not and still are not tuned in to the differences that tend to single out Sinaloan drug dealers from the small, but present population of Mexicans in Canada. I spoke with an RCMP official/expert not long ago about Senora de los Sombras, Nino Negro Santa or the Holy Death (Santa Muerte) (different names for the same saint), and he had no idea what I was speaking about. They’re behind the curve but they will catch up.
Canada was not prepared for organized crime to dump half a billion dollars into infrastructure. They’re not set up to work at that level and they still aren’t. Yes, they will catch up one day — maybe. The Sinaloans have been moving drugs at a very high level for a very long time and have been up against tough enforcement efforts and tough competition. They know how to run a business. And Chapo is running most of his in Canada these days, under the Canadian radar.