is a central mechanism to Cártel control and influence. It is defined simply as 'an armed unit of 3 or more operators patrolling their territory.'
They are more than just this however, and are the commandos through which an organization defends it's turf, eradicates rivals, and guards it's leaders.
An estaca may operate as 3 commandos, but it is not uncommon to witness convoys of up to one hundred vehicles charging into battle like the cavalry of old. We see this time and time again in situations of great turbulence among factions, and it just goes to show the utter power these organizations have come to wield.
Further to this, members of an estaca typically hold some form of military or police training. They are regularly affluent in techniques such as surveillance, kidnapping, interrogation, the reading of license plates, weapons use and radio communications.
If it is not just training they hold, they may be active members of these federal institutions. Otherwise, members of an estaca may be youth between 15 - 25 who have been recently promoted to join the ranks of the killers.
The compensation for becoming a sicario is not what one might expect in many cases, and ranges from anywhere between $1,000 - $4,125CAD bi-weekly for your typical gunman. Dependent of course upon skillset, experience and a number of other desirable qualities.
In many cases, this money is rapidly spent by operators in the lower echelons of the organization on things such as alcohol, sedatives and other drugs which are used to numb their consciences from the atrocities they've committed.