Subject Area Keywords

Security studies, Transnational crime


Modern urban siege is a metaphor for evolved urban campaigns. The template for such attacks draws from the tactics seen in the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008, and continued with the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Kenya, the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks in Paris and the November 2015 attacks against the Stade de France and Bataclan. These virtual sieges employ swarming tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to provide a template for urban strife and insecurity. This article provides an overview of terrorist swarming tactics, expanding the aperture to review the use of similar TTPs by criminal gangs in Brazil in the Novo Cagngaço style high intensity robberies and raids. The article will then review the October 2019 Battle of Culiacán or Culiacanazo, where elements of the Cártel de Sinaloa (CDS) employed urban siege TTPs to counter the arrest of cartel leaders by state security forces. The second incident occurred in January 2023 when the CDS again employed swarming TTPs in an unsuccessful attempt to thwart the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán.