The Oaxaca cartel is one of the smaller drug cartels currently operating in Mexico and at the service of the Tijuana Cartel; it focuses on marijuana and cocaine trafficking and operates in southern Mexico, particularly in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.
The cartel was led by Pedro Díaz Parada, who was first arrested by the Mexican Army in 1985 and then by Federal Police agents in January 2007. Pedro Díaz Parada was sentenced to 33 years' imprisonment in 1985, but subsequently escaped prison twice – once in 1987 and again in 1992. The Oaxaca cartel reportedly joined forces with the Tijuana Cartel in 2003 and press reports indicate that Díaz Parada was the most important representative of the Tijuana cartel in southeastern Mexico at the time of his latest arrest in January 2007.
Pedro Díaz Parada began his days in the drug trafficking world by sowing marijuana in San Pedro Totolapa, Oaxaca, during the 1970s. He extended his activity to cocaine trafficking by using speed boats and light aircraft. He was arrested and sentenced in 1985 to 33 years in prison and held in the Santa María Ixcotel prison, from where he escaped a few days later. In September 1987, Judge Villafuerte Gallegos was murdered near his home in Cuernavaca, Morelos, where he had been moved in order to protect him from the threats of Díaz Parada. Díaz was arrested a second time in 1990 and again escaped prison in 1992 from the 'Reclusorio Oriente' prison in Mexico City. He was arrested a third time in January 2007. His possible substitutes may have been his brothers Eugenio Jesús Díaz Parada and Domingo Aniceto Díaz Parada.