The Beltran Leyvas are falling like dominos. First Alfredo captured in 2008, then Marcos Arturo's death in Cuernavaca to close out 2009. Now brother Carlos gets busted in Culiacan. (Oddly, he admitted to being a Beltran Leyva after they quizzed him on his fake credentials; did he think name-dropping would help him? Quite possible, given the vast reach of Beltran Leyva corruption, but personally I would have stayed quiet.)
Last Beltran Leyva standing: Hector and Mario (who may be one and the same person).
Behind them stands Chapo, with an axe. A narco-manta was recently hung up in Los Mochis, saying "this territory has an owner." It apparently came from the Beltran Leyva goons. They apparently didn't get the memo currently circulating around SInaloa and Badiraguato, where Chapo's from.
"You tell everyone, you spread the word – Chapo is in charge here. Chapo's the law. There is no law but Chapo. Chapo is boss. Not Mochomo, not El Barbas. Chapo is the law."
That's what a young man who claims to work for Chapo told me in Badiraguato back in September. I don't doubt him.
New prediction/speculation for 2010: Chapo is working out a deal with the government to control the Mexican drug trade, like the one Amado Carrillo Fuentes tried to broker before he died in 1997. Chapo is feeding all the right info to the cops and military, knocking down his foes one by one.
Next to fall after Carlos? My money's on Carrillo Fuentes's brother Vicente in Juarez. Then the remaining Beltran Leyva brothers.