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Quick dispatch with some groundbreaking news: Mexican marines shot it out with Arturo Beltran Leyva and his bodyguards in some luxury mall/department store in Cuernavaca, about 50 miles south of Mexico city. Unreal. The shootout—caught on tape—happened in the middle of the night on the streets of the city. This episode has the possibility of bringing a lot of violence, with the reacomodos (what we call when the bloody realignment of power happens) and all fights for control of the plazas.

Don’t have time to write anything more, but your Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor have ok articles on it:

Beltrán Leyva, whose henchmen were known to dismember and decapitate police and rival gang members and had successfully infiltrated Mexicans security forces in recent years, was killed along with six bodyguards in a shoot out that lasted 90 minutes at a luxury condo in Cuernavaca, an hour south of Mexico City.

Local television footage showed helicopters and military vehicles circling the site while hundreds of gunshots rang out. One of Beltrán Leyva’s bodyguards reportedly took his own life rather than surrender to the Mexican Navy, which carried out the operation. One soldier was killed and two were injured.

Stay tuned for updates. For now check this sick slideshow.

Pancho Montana is an eXiled Special Mexican War on Drugs Correspondent. You can reach him at montana [at]

As a native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, located in northern Mexico, Mr. Montana lives in Gulf Cartel territory. That means the streets belong to the Zetas, a paramilitary organization trained by the Yankees and hired by the Gulf Cartel to keep things civilized and business booming.

Read more:, Pancho Montana, The Mexican Drug War, What You Should Hate

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Add your own

  • 1. peter  |  December 17th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    i am willing to suck turds out of your bunghole, oh great one

  • 2. 16 Shells from a 30.06  |  December 17th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Does peter’s come-on mean that posts aren’t reviewed before posting anymore?

  • 3. internal exile  |  December 17th, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Gosh, now his rival or his underlings will have to take over business, like, today. Betcha customers in the tienditas won’t even notice the changeover.

    But BOY did it feel good with all that shooting and soldiers running around and press releases and triumph over the latest druglord. What a rush!

  • 4. gwern  |  December 18th, 2009 at 6:12 am

    ‘the Mexican Navy’? I’m a little perplexed, why is the navy hunting druglords on land?

  • 5. David Jackmanson  |  December 18th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    At a total guess, the Navy may have started off being responsible for intercepting any seaborne drugs and then some bright spark realised that the Marines would be useful for making the Navy look good by chasing drugs on land too. (I’m assuming that unlike the USA, the Marines in Mexico are under the direct control of the Navy).

    I bet Mexico is no different from any other country; different bureaucracies and armed services fight for power and budgets. Now the Navy Minister there will be able to demand a bigger share of the drug-fighting pie.

  • 6. Bo Andersen  |  December 18th, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    The navy was used, probably for two reasons:
    1) The Morelos State (where Cuernavaca is capital), is close to Acapulco in the Guerrero State, where it is the Navy (with its Marines) which are in control.

    2) There was legitimate worries about, if the army already stationed in Guernavaca, was in his pay. The security apparatus of the Morelos State is quite well infiltrated by the narco mafia.
    By the way, the shootout was not in a mall, but in an apartment complex, where the marines went knocking from door to door, until they found the right one….

  • 7. Bo Andersen  |  December 18th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Look at some better pictures at:

    Warning: Dead bodies.

  • 8. 16 Shells from a 30.06  |  December 19th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Nice creepy touch…photographing a shot to death corpse, after covering it in money.

  • 9. proletariat  |  December 22nd, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    The cartels have already killed the entire family of the Marine who died in this operation and burnt down a school in retaliation, so this could blow up pretty big.

  • 10. Joe Blow  |  December 23rd, 2009 at 10:16 am

    that was a wierd thing with the pesos…

    and I like how they pulled his pants down and then put his effects on his chest…

  • 11. internal exile  |  December 24th, 2009 at 1:44 am

    Trophy killing. As just as meaningful to the industry.

  • 12. Grigori  |  December 26th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I heard on the news that the drug lords went after the family of one of the Marines that stormed the complex. I would like to hear your take on that move. That fucking blows my mind that they would do that.

  • 13. mx?  |  December 27th, 2009 at 11:39 am

    well, the marines did come in with packing expansive bullets and they also desecrated the body of Don Arturo. What did they expect?

    Well expect mexico to light up like a christmas tree for next year. expect that..

  • 14. Carpenter  |  January 12th, 2010 at 1:37 am

    All of you here who are bitter at the thought of a drug lord being killed, expect more of the kind in the years to come. When economies go down, the first thing to disappear is liberal values, and all those who love drug Mafias for “giving people what they want” while hating tobacco companies for “selling death” will have a lot to cry about. When the U.S. starts actually fighting drugs for real, lots of Mexican drug peddlers will die for their dollars. Suck it up, sweeties.

  • 15. mx?  |  January 14th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    The Gov. strategy may be working: decapitating the cartels and basically just grind at them, attrition-style.

    But this only wins you battles, because the cartels maybe going down, the war will never stop.

    As long as there is a market for illegal substances, be it America or Europe, trafficking will always exist, even if the current drug cartels dont survive the state offensive, others will come to fill their places.

  • 16. Jorge  |  January 24th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Its good he’s dead, even if as you say that as long as there is a market someone will sell drugs, this cartels are brutal and don’t conduct buisness in an intelligent way. Also, as the cartels were expulsed from colombia they will also be taken out from mexico, let them go elsewhere. Monterrey was a relatively peaceful city when all this problems started.

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