A new brutal Mexican drugs cartel is forcing out and massacring villagers as they build their business in a fight for power since El Chapo’s demise.
Mexican cartels are diversifying and expanding from drugs as they change tactics to beat the authorities.
Some criminal groups have moved into the mining sector, including the export of iron, while a new murderous cartel, called Los Tena, are dealing in an endangered wood.
Los Tena are illegally trading Sangualica wood in China where it is highly valued and a cubic metre can sell for almost $2,000 (£1,600).
The wood is used for panels on yachts, musical instruments and luxury cars.
Los Tena “sicarios”, assassins, have forced farmers off their land to take the wood and killed anyone who has stood in their way.
The bloodthirsty band is led by Fernando Cruz Mendoza, alias El Tena, who was a kingpin in the defunct Knights Templar cartel, and has now set up his own deadly gang.
Landowner Luis Olazcon Mendoza, 61, refused to surrender to the Los Tena and he was brutally murdered with his body incinerated.
His brother Filemon Olazcon said how his family has been ruined by the cartel as the rest have been forced to flee.
He told Mexican TV: “They forced us away and came after us. They take the wood, the sangualica. They kill a lot of people. A lot of people don’t report it, they are scared, the truth is they are scared.”
He added that the wood has become a “trail of death”.
The cartel also came for the Palomillos family.
Salvador Palomillos said: “My son, my wife, mum and dad all managed to flee over the hill.”
Los Tena operate in Michoacan where the battle ground is between Los Viagra, the Jalisco Nuevo Generacion Cartel and the former Knights Templar cells like Los Tena.
In July an activist Zenaida Pulido was ambushed on a coastal road and killed with his wife denouncing the Los Tena. Earlier this year 15 bodies with signs of torture and gun shot wounds were found in the back of a lorry in the town of Aquila.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was given life in jail by a US court earlier this year for racketeering and drug trafficking crimes as head of the Sinaloa Cartel.
In his absence the Jalisco Nuevo Generacion cartel have made major inroads in the wide open turf war. In the state of Michoacan they are competing with remnants of the former Knights Templar – like the Los Tena – and other groups including the Michoacana family and the Los Viagra.
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