Zambada is one of the most veteran drug traffickers in Mexico and has not stepped in jail in his 40 years as a drug trafficker.
Of the old guard leaders and founders of Mexico drug cartels, they have all been arrested at some time. Minus one
He is protected by 6 women who have built a business, financial, legal, and social shield around Ismael Mario “El Mayo” Zambada García, leader of the Sinaloa or Pacific Cartel, El Universal publishes in a report.
According to the United States Government, this has allowed him to launder money as a result of his illegal activities.
His wife, Rosario Niebla Cardoza, and their daughters Midiam Patricia, María Teresa, Modesta and Mónica del Rosario, as well as their daughter-in-law Zynthia Borboa Zazueta, wife of Jesús Vicente Zambada, “Vicentillo”, are founders of at least a dozen companies in various sectors, in livestock and agriculture, real estate, motor transport, fuel distribution, education and childcare, architectural design and the sale of art.
JULIO SCHERER INTERVIEW WITH EL MAYO ZAMBADA:
Of the Zambada Niebla sisters, three of the four have higher education.
Midiam Patricia and Mónica del Rosario have a degree in Business Administration from the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (UAS).
Modesta graduated as a lawyer from the Culiacán University Studies Center.
María Teresa is known for her vocation as an educator at the head of children’s rooms.
According to the blacklisting records of the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), eight of the 10 companies that have founded the daughters of “El Mayo” Zambada García they remain in the database.
Joaquín Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was for years the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and his main partner and even co-leader was Zambada, his compadre as well. Following Guzmán’s latest arrest and his conviction in the United States, Zambada became the leader of the cartel.
Unlike Guzmán (captured three times, with two escapes), Zambada has never been detained.
Zambada García was born on January 1, 1948, so he is 72 years old, according to Internet data. He is the father of three sons and four daughters.
How has El Mayo escaped persecution for decades?
The researcher from the University of Guadalajara, Francisco Jiménez Reynoso, summarizes it in two words: corruption and impunity .
“Those two concepts are the ones that have these types of criminals on the street, roaming around and doing business,” he tells BBC Mundo.
“Obviously, these businesses are not done alone, but in many cases have the approval or participation of authorities .”
It is a part of the explanation. According to US agencies, Zambada García also tends to act more like an entrepreneur than a drug lord.
Unlike other leaders, such as Joaquín Guzmán Loera, Ismael Zambada rarely uses violence to open markets.
Nor is he as fond of luxuries like El Chapo, whom the Mexican authorities managed to trace in part taking advantage of this weakness.
His mode of operation is money, which is used especially to buy protection from authorities … And from the mountain communities where he moves.
Another secret for the survival of leaders like El Mayo is that they do not attack the civilian population , says Martín Barrón, a researcher at the National Institute of Criminal Sciences (Inacipe).
They even tend to become patrons and protectors of marginalized communities.
Until a few years ago, for example, Zambada García sponsored the Christmas festivities in El Álamo, the ranchería where he was born.
One of his daughters owned a nursery, and his wife a milk distributor.
n some marginalized regions, especially in the mountainous area of Sinaloa, his group offers employment, security, health and other services that are not covered by local authorities.
This has made it possible to weave an extensive protection network, in which the inhabitants of the area where it is moved often participate.
“They buy wills, they buy loyalties and in more than a few cases they are willing to give up their lives for a character of this nature, even if he dedicates himself to illicit activities,” says Jiménez Reynoso.
But community protection would be of little use if El Mayo behaved differently than it has for decades, specialists agree.
In his personal security, the capo has dozens of gunmen with weapons of war, as well as an effective communication system.
It is in constant motion , especially in the mountainous region shared by the states of Durango, Sinaloa and Chihuahua.
The area is known as the Golden Triangle, for its abundant production of poppy and marijuana.
He hardly ever sleeps twice in the same place . He confessed to the journalist Julio Scherer that he “never” comes down from the mountains.
Such precautions have served not only to avoid being located, but even to avoid confrontations with other cartels.
But his best ally is the discreet profile in his life , something gained from experience says the researcher from the University of Guadalajara.
“These types of people as they get older get more experience,” he explains.
“The blows that life gives them leads them to behave with a very low profile in our society.”
Very different from El Chapo Guzmán himself and, above all, from young people who enter into drug trafficking.
“Because of their inexperience they ride in luxurious vans, getting drunk on the streets or even shocking,” says Reynoso.
These young people include those who are detained or who die clashes with authorities and other organizations.
Until now, El Mayo has survived all of them.