Thriving within what was once a tourist hot spot but which has now become infamous for having one of the highest murder rates per capita in the world is the Cártel Independiente de Acapulco.
This ruthless organization has been operating in Acapulco, located in the state of Guerrero, for years; but they come from a dark and troubled lineage and an American born founder.
The organization was first formed by one 'La Barbie' in 2010, a Texas born man of hispanic descent who became known in the drug scene as an operator and close confidant of the Beltrán-Leyva family in the early 2000's. (Prior to their split with the Sinaloa Cártel.)
It was during this time that La Barbie led an operative unit of the BLO known as 'Los Negros' who were warring with the Gulf Cártel in Nuevo Laredo, specifically against their own operative cell, Los Zetas. Which at the time was still part of the CDG. Several provocative narcomantas were hung during this period on behalf of El Chapo Guzmán by La Barbie and his cohorts, but Los Zetas held a firm grip on the city.
Heads rolled and bodies were dumped, but the Sinaloense were pushed back.
In late 2009, Arturo Beltrán Leyva, head of the BLO was killed in an operation that included almost two hundred marines, military helicopters and nearly two dozen fragmentation grenades gifted to security forces on behalf of the narcos. The firefight lasted several hours and La Barbie was blamed as complicit for not coming to Arturo's aid when he needed it most.
This resulted in La Barbie's faction breaking away from the Beltranes and forming their own organization: The Independent Cártel of Acapulco, where they found themselves fighting a lengthy war with their Beltrán counterparts. An effort which resulted in well over one hundred deaths and La Barbie's eventual capture in mid-2010, mere months after the organization's founding.
Detained members of CIDA
During his operations, La Barbie became well known as a pioneer of videotaped executions which he uploaded frequently to Youtube, as well as the gruesome ways in which he murdered his victims. Reportedly, he kept one would-be Zeta assassin captive in the basement of his home for weeks, if not months in order to torture him senselessly.
These claims have not been substantiated, but there are still many videos circulating the net which show La Barbie's other acts of horror. The Independent Cártel seems to have continued these terrifying traditions and have, like so many other criminal organizations throughout the country become known for dumping the bodies of their victims in bustling tourist laden city streets.
They are also fond of controlling the media and that which is published about them, just as so many criminal groups in Mexico are. They do this through threats, violence and murder - an act which has made the profession of journalist one of the most dangerous careers in the country.
This organization continues to operate to this day, and will surely be thriving for some time given Acapulco's strategic location along Mexico's southwestern coast; a mere stones throw from countries like Guatemala and Colombia.