Alex “Buggs” Marentes is based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Alex joined the United States Marines and discharged honorably after 8 years of active duty service. He also served three years in the Marine Corps Reserve after his active duty. He joined the Albuquerque Police Department in 1985 and retired after 30 years of service to his community. Alex has dedicated his retirement life as a professional photographer, one of his life time passions. He is also an avid adventure motorcycle rider.

Alex has traveled extensively to Mexico, has family and friends there and has always had an interest in the political and social life of old Mexico.

His nickname “Buggs” was derived from his love of the Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny cartoon. Alex is the founder and owner of the Borderland Beat Project that gathers information about the Mexican Drug Cartel War and shares the information in the popular worldwide blog.

The Borderland Beat Project

Keep in mind that the content on this website is the opinion and analysis of Buggs. Buggs does not represent any entity, organization or department, he writes for himself.

The Borderland Beat Project is a well respected source of information and is often used as a source from many media outlets, publications and experts of the Mexican drug cartels. The blog has been referred to and quoted in many news publications including the New York Times, Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle. Borderland Beat has been used as a reference in academic papers submitted under the auspices of:

  • US Army War College, Pennsylvania.

  • Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

  • San Diego State University, San Diego, California.

  • George Washington University, Eye Street, NW Washington, DC.

  • Georgetown University, NW Washington D.C.

  • Colgate University, Hamilton, New York.

  • Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana, Medellín, Colombia.

  • Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.

  • Center for a New American Security, Washington, DC.

  • Colgen LP, Defense Consulting Services, Mico, Texas.

Professor Robert Bunker regularly writes about the Mexican Drug War for Small Wars Journal, and often refers to Borderland Beat for material. His May 31, 2012 blog post "Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #12" quotes extensively from a Borderland Beat news story. Likewise, InSight Crime frequently uses Borderland Beat as a reference source and they have also reproduced several Borderland Beat news articles in full.

The project is collaboration from a group of people of different backgrounds located in the US and Mexico that gather information related to the Mexican drug cartels and presents it in English through the internet, publications and presentations. Almost all information gathered has come from the result of reporting in the Borderland Beat blog and, the personal experience and research coming from Buggs.

The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing armed conflict taking place among rival drug cartels, who fight each other for regional control (plazas), and Mexican government forces, which seek to combat drug trafficking. Although Mexican drug cartels, or Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO’s), have existed for a few decades, they have become more powerful since the demise of Colombia's Cali and Medellín cartels in the 1990s.

The main cartels included are:

  • The powerful Sinaloa Cartel or Cartel de Sinaloa (CDS) that dominated the Golden Triangle in the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Durango:

  • The Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) made up of the Beltran brothers mainly concentrating in Guerrero.

  • The Juarez Cartel fighting to protect their turf from the Sinaloa Cartel on one of the deadliest border city in Mexico.

  • The Gulf Cartel fighting their own break away armed wing known as Los Zetas on the gulf coast that turned towns in the state of Tamaulipas in to ghost towns.

  • La Familia Michoacana (LFM) trying to make a presence in the lands of Tierra Caliente of Michoacan and eventually morphing in to the Caballeros Templarios or The Knights Templar.

The Book

Buggs is the author of the book titled “Borderland Beat.” The information on this book has a fast pace, with a lot of DTO information thrown at you at one time filled with sicario activity and the Mexican government attempt to intervene, but it also contains a lot of personal direct behind the scene information from the author. This particular information is the involvement of the author from his early stages when he started to formalize his plan to bring to life the Borderland Beat Project.

Follow Buggs as he sets the stage and takes you on a wild ride in to the dark shadows of the violence and chaos of the Mexican drug cartels. A narrative, as told in the deep dark pages of the Borderland Beat blog.


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News and content related to the Mexican drug cartels


Alex is a reporter specializing in organized crime in Mexico.