Los Artistas Asesinos, also referred to as 'Doble A' and 'AA', is a Mexican criminal organization operating out of Ciudad Juárez on behalf of the Cártel de Sinaloa.
Similarly to organizations like Los Mexicles and Barrio Azteca, Los Artistas Asesinos are a street gang rather than a fully fledged Cártel faction. While perhaps more sophisticated in operations than Los Mexicles themselves, the organization does not appear to have the lengthy reach of a faction like Gente Nueva, which spans several of Mexico's state lines.
The gang, which does have some members imprisoned north of the border in El Paso, operates via kidnapping, murder-for-hire, retail drug sales and general extortion.
But how did the gang come to be? And how did they come to gain such a curious name as the 'Artist Assassins?'
Reportedly, the gang gains its name from its founders - who were both painters and graffiti artists. One, 'El Saik', supposedly won a national inmate painting contest. While the other, 'El Sueño' was an accomplished street artist.
'El Saik', who committed his first drive-by shooting at 19, seemed to relish a life of crime. And was either wandering the streets getting into brawls or scribbling in his sketchbook. We see a similar pattern in the adolescence of 'El Sueño', who in the 90's and early 2000's was regarded as a prolific graffiti artist in Ciudad Juárez. As a result of this, the two individuals easily became friends - and they, along with a number of other artistically inclined criminals and inmates began meeting to share their latest works with one another.
However, what initially began as an intellectual endeavour soon combined with their criminal pasts and inclinations; and through whatever means, the gang began receiving contracts against the lives of Juárez Cártel aligned gangsters and mafiosos - as well as weapons - from the Cártel de Sinaloa.
The gang has since forged a long history with the CDS. Reportedly operating as far back as the early 2000's, and though not much is heard from Los Doble A beyond the streets of Juárez, the gang is still well and operating today.
Though, as with any criminal organization there is bound to be some bumps along the way. In August of 2018 the Artistas Asesinos threatened war on a once tightly knitted ally, Los Mexicles in a video posted on social media platforms.
What this means for the Sinaloa Federation in Ciudad Juárez is unclear. CDS has already been fighting a lengthy war in the city after all. Warring with elements of the Juárez Cártel - which has suffered its own divisions recently. As well as elements of the Jalisco New Generation Cártel through the arms of the New Juárez Cártel.
Given immense government pressure in major cities such as Juárez, Reynosa and Mexico City, it is only expected that we see such fragmentations of criminal groups as capos and top bosses are arrested, extradited or otherwise murdered in heated confrontations with security forces.
Will Los Doble A be able to let bygones be bygones and mend their relations with Los Mexicles? This is unclear. But if they cannot, they will see themselves warring on four or five different fronts in the city. An unwise move in any likelihood.