Who is María Teresa Rodríguez, AKA La Tía, or Auntie, former leader of Cancún Cartel’s hitwomen

María Teresa "La Tía" battles "Doña Lety" in Cancún's drug scene, navigates shifting alliances and operates even after her arrest in 2015.

In the bustling tourist city of Cancún, Quintana Roo, behind the veneer of tranquil beaches and luxury resorts, María Teresa Rodríguez, better known as “La Tía,” wielded a hidden power. As a formidable leader of the Cancún Cartel, a criminal outfit founded by Leticia Rodríguez or “Doña Lety,” she played an instrumental role in the formation of a group of female assassins that would later become a faction of the notorious Zetas Cartel.

But the ascent of “La Tía” wasn’t solo. She climbed the ranks of the Cancún Cartel in tandem with former federal police officer Leticia Rodríguez. Together, they took control of the hotel zone, dominating the drug trade. Their combined efforts birthed “Las Cachorras,” a group of female hitwomen with ambitions to join the cartel’s elite team, “Las Panteras.”

"La Tia" formed a special group of hitwomen. Photo: Archive
“La Tia” formed a special group of hitwomen. Photo: Archive

The rise of “La Tía” in Quintana Roo

Yet, as often happens in the clandestine world of drug trafficking, allegiances shifted. While Doña Lety found new partnerships with the likes of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and “El Chapo” Guzmán, “La Tía” pledged her loyalty to Los Zetas, a group spearheaded by Heriberto Lazcano, known as “El Lazca.”

The divide between the two women deepened when “La Tía,” also referred to as “La Gorda,” secured control of areas such as Chetumal, Bacalar, Puerto Morelos, and Cozumel. However, tension mounted as she vied for territories in Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, which brought her into direct conflict with her former ally now aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel.

In a bid to retain her territories and remain a formidable force, “La Tía” expanded her recruitment drive.

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"La Tia" disputed the Cancun plaza against "Doña Lety." Photo: Special
“La Tia” disputed the Cancun plaza against “Doña Lety.” Photo: Special

The fall of “La Tía”

The landscape changed further with the emergence of groups like Los Talibanes. Following the arrest of their leader, Juan Daniel Velázquez Caballero, or “El Talibancillo,” the reins of power naturally shifted to “La Tía,” as reported by Quadratín.

But this new hierarchy was short-lived. Leticia Rodríguez’s group started gaining momentum, pushing “La Tía” to seek an alliance with the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG).

However, the days of “La Tía’s” dominance in Quintana Roo were numbered. A calculated move by “Doña Lety,” aided by the “Los Pelones” gang, not only saw her regain control of the plaza but also led to the arrest of María Teresa Rodríguez on April 9, 2015, by federal authorities.

But, as sources reveal, even behind bars, the indomitable “La Tía” continued her operations.