Terrible reports drifted north this weekend, as news emerged of a battle in Mexico that almost defies comprehension.
Mexican forces arrested one of their biggest targets: El Chapo’s son, Ovidio Guzmán Lopez, who they planned to extradite to the United States. So far, so good.
But then the Sinaloa Cartel responded before the government forces could exfiltrate the target area. The Sinaloa Cartel captured eight members of the military and reportedly even took families of some of the soldiers hostage, according to The New York Times.
The Washington Post summed the battle up brilliantly: the operation proved that “in parts of Mexico, the government can be outmanned, outgunned, and outsmarted by drug cartels.”
In the end, the Mexican forces released Ovidio Guzmán Lopez and retreated from the city, running for their lives. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suffered a humiliating embarrassment with the raid and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.
For now, his response seems (to me) absolutely ridiculous.
“You can’t fight fire with fire,” he said of the decision to hand Guzmán back to his cartel. “We do not want dead people, we do not want war. And this takes a lot to understand.”
In the end, seven people died, including one civilian, and sixteen others were injured, the Times reports.
I only share all this because it brought up some old (sweet) memories of a fictional book that I wrote a few years back. The book begins with a simple plot of the United States sending armed forces to deal with the cartels. Initially, it’s a group of Navy SEALs. This attempt fails badly in my hypothetical book (almost like the raid described above), and America is at a loss for what to do.
In the end, the U.S. President sends in a contractor, off-the-books force led by my infamous character Nick Woods, who first showed up in Sold Out.
When I wrote the book (Mexican Heat), I worried I pushed the limits of believably. I describe the cartels attacking police stations, the presidential palace, you name it. I even have them led (through part of the book) by a vicious, Uzi-toting character who likes to hack up prisoners with a katana (Japanese sword).
The book boasts huge amounts of action and tension, and is epic in scale, in my opinion. (Almost Tom Clancy-like in scope, in fact, as the Mexican government is on the verge of collapse and the entire economy is on the brink of disintegrating.) Not to mention, there are loads of battles and probably two-hundred-plus folks killed in small unit action.
Really awesome stuff if you’re into action books like me. 🙂
But as time has gone by, since I published the book in 2014, I’m no longer convinced that the book is outlandish at all. Or at least not by much.
In my book, there’s an escape from the “country’s most-secure prison,” as I call it. Yet in real life, El Chapo escaped from a federal maximum-security prison TWICE.
In my book, the Mexican President is paralyzed by the violence and threats to his government. Yet just three days ago, the forces of the Mexican President surrendered to the cartels and fled a city of more than 785,000. Did I mention above that Culiacán is also the capital of the state of Sinaloa? (I know, it’s almost impossible to believe.)
At any rate, it seems the ‘Mexican Heat’ in real life may exceed my own imagination. Or maybe not. Judge for yourself, if you choose.
Okay, here’s my sales pitch so I can pay the bills. If you want to read a really fun book, that’s a hell of a ride (and where no one really dies), pick up a copy of Mexican Heat. Or if you want, just keep up with the news coming out of the south in real life and it might be just as entertaining and hard to believe.
Stan R. Mitchell
Stan R. Mitchell is the author of nine, fast-paced novels. He’s sold more than 70,000 books and writes military action and mystery genre, mostly. He’s also a prior infantry Marine, who LOVES writing!! Click the link at left to check out his books.