The Cartels originated in Latin America. Though other criminal organizations have been for all intents and purposes cartels (e.g. the Triads, the Maggia, the Yakuza, and the Molina, and likewise some terrorist groups like Hydra and the Sons of the Serpent), the criminal organizations which have been given the name "Cartels" by law enforcement, the media, and the underworld have been those of Latin America. Every one of the "Cartels" have been heavily involved in the drug trade, with some cartels having been involved only in drugs and other cartels (e.g. Lobo Cartel and Dos Soles Cartel) having been involved in other criminal enterprises. These syndicates were named after the city they were founded in or based in, the drug kingpin running the syndicate, the family (e.g. Lobos) controlling the syndicate, or some other symbol (e.g Black Knife Cartel).
The oldest and most powerful one, Tarantula's Organization, had ruled Argentina for a thousand years. Which had fanatical operatives, willing to die for their master, including committing ritual suicide for failing. Two of the cartels had a theme, where their members dressed and/or acted a specific way, following the example of their cartel bosses. In the cartel that was led by Don of the Dead (an insane drug lord), the men dressed in costumes and masks that corresponded to the Santa Muerte cult (Our Lady of the Holy Death) or to Lucha Libre (Mexican professional wrestling). In the Man-Dogs, it was led by Pit Bull a brutal humanoid dog and the organization's members wore spiked dog collars, barked, and filed their teeth.
As the Mexican and South American Cartels have been the primary supplier of drugs to the United States of America, among foreign organized crime groups it has been the cartels which have had the most numerous confrontations with American vigilantes and super heroes. Most notoriously the Punisher, but also including Spider-Man, Moon Knight, Venom, Wolverine, Daredevil, the Hulk, and Deadpool. Among organized crime groups, only the cartels have received the full paramilitary treatment by S.H.I.E.L.D., with two military-style assaults (complete with S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier) on two different cartels (Black Knife Cartel and Espumar's cartel).
The Dos Soles Cartel of Mexico had an alliance with a conspiracy within the highest levels of the American government. In Colombia, the Cuchillo Cartel had a partnership with one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world, Roxxon Energy. Tarantula's Organization worked with the U.S. Department of Defense and Roxxon Energy. These cartels all possessed extreme influence in their home countries, being nearly untouchable due to the corruption and/or violence used by the cartels, the Black Knife Cartel and the Man-Dogs being the most extreme examples in the violence used. The Dos Soles Cartel also had a relationship with A.I.M. which supplied it with superhumans. Some of the drug lords (e.g. Calavera de Jade) had relationships with the American C.I.A.. Within the United States, the Dos Soles Cartel temporarily united the street gangs under its banner, giving them an army of hundreds of thousands of gang members on American streets. Unlike with the Triads, Molina, Yakuza, or Maggia there have not been any "boss of bosses" or equivalent who leads the cartels of Latin America (neither Western Hemisphere-wide or national-level).
- Dos Soles Cartel (Mexican)
- Quintas Cartel (Mexican)
- Cuiliacan Cartel (Mexican)
- Lobo Cartel (Mexican)
- New Juarez Cartel (Mexican)
- Zeta Cartel (Mexican)
- Man-Dogs (Mexican)
- Don of the Dead's Cartel (Mexican)
- Black Knife Cartel (Colombian)
- Cuchillo Cartel (Colombian)
- Medellin Cartel (Colombian)
- Cali Cartel (Colombian)
- Victor Santiago's Cartel (Peruvian)
- Tarantula's Organization (Argentinian)
- Villamos Clan
- Ramone Cartel
- Villa Cartel
- Eduardo Lobo (Mexican) (mutant)
- Carlos Lobo (Mexican) (mutant) (Dead)
- Esmeralda Lobo (Mexican) (female) (mutant)
- Hector Balboa (Mexican)
- Calavera (Mexican) (superhuman)
- Jade (Mexican) (superhuman) (Dead)
- Jorge Valdez (Mexican) (Dead)
- Calavera de Jade (Mexican) (Dead)
- Guillermo Del Sol (Mexican) (Dead)
- Hector Del Sol (Mexican) (Dead)
- Espumar (Mexican) (Dead)
- Gilberto Alcantara (Mexican) (Dead)
- Pit Bull (Mexican) (superhuman) (Dead)
- Angelica Rojas (Mexican) (female) (Dead)
- Juan Carlos Valencia (Colombian)
- El Caiman (Colombian) (Dead)
- Teodor Zarco (Colombian) (Dead)
- El Dragon (Colombian) (mutate)
- Black Tarantula (Argentinian) (mutate)
- Victor Santiago (Peruvian) (Dead)
- General Carranza (Dead)
- Ernesto Villamos (Dead)
- Señor Muerte
- Hector Ramone (Dead)
- Don of the Dead (foreigner = Caucasian)
Equipment: Extremis virus, Roxxon power bestowal drugs,
Transportation: At least one cartel had mini-submarines
Weapons: chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), anti-tank attack helicopter, fighter jets, man-portable surface-to-air missiles, gatling-style miniguns, torpedoes, and mortars.
- Unlike in the Marvel Universe, where the Maggia (its analog of the American Mafia) dominates the American underworld, in the real world it's the Mexican Cartels who have the most influence in the American underworld, from the U.S.-Mexico border to the U.S.-Canadian border and from the West Coast to the East Coast. They dominate the drug markets throughout the nation and their affiliates dominate the arms trafficking, organized auto theft, and human smuggling in the American Southwest. Mexican Cartels work with Latino and white prison gangs, Latino and black street gangs, and white biker gangs to smuggle and distribute drugs. Especially the Chicano prison gangs of California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico (who have the most extensive and strongest relations with the cartels). These Chicano prison gangs now dominate or control the mid-level drug trafficking in California, Texas, and the Southwest, are involved in various border smuggling activities (drugs, cars, guns, and people), dominate the prisons of that region, and control most of the Latino street gangs on both the West Coast and the Southwest.
- 32 Cartels (Earth-616) Members
- 26 Appearances of Cartels (Earth-616)
- Minor Appearances of Cartels (Earth-616)
- Media Cartels (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 15 Images that include Cartels (Earth-616)
- Organization Gallery: Cartels (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Mexican Drug War at Wikipedia.org
- Stratfor: Organized Crime in Mexico
- Insight Crime: Organized Crime in Mexico
- Insight Crime: Organized Crime in Colombia
- U.S. Congress: Mexican Cartels
- California Department of Justice: Mexican Cartels and U.S. Gangs
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Mexican Cartels and U.S. Gangs
- Incredible Hulk Vol 3 #8
- The Spectacular Spider-Man #143
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