Rifts: Hard Repo
In the American Southwest and northern Mexico, much of the Black Market trade is dominated by a single cartel known as El Oculta, “the Hidden One.” True to its name, the command structure of El Oculta has remained outside the reach of Coalition authorities and vengeful competitors for years, melding into the shadows whenever their true identities and vital operations are at risk.
Descended from the drug cartels of ages past, El Oculta is arguably the most violent Faction of the Black Market in the Americas. They use torture, intimidation, kidnaping and gangland murder to maintain their share of the market and keep competitors away. And with clientele like the Pecos Empire, numerous bandit groups and raiders, rebels, terrorists, and, some say, even the Vampire Kingdoms, it pays to maintain a tough image. Those who try to cross El Oculta often end up buried in mass graves out in the desert.
Ever since the establishment of CS Lone Star in 68 P.A., Black Market activity in Texas has been forced to circumvent the northwest portion of the state. The motley collection of gangs, bandits and D-Bees that would evolve into the Pecos Empire were already excellent customers for weapons and the local Black Market, but sales only increased due to the presence of the Coalition Army. Routes were developed that cut south through “the Bend,” an inhospitable region of west Texas, connecting the Pecos Bandits and the marketeers who supply them to the American West.
As the Black Market developed holdings in Nevada and other areas, the trade routes became increasingly valuable. The appearance of more and more Coalition troops made it harder for the Black Market to supply the growing Pecos Empire and other southwestern customers, and competition for the Texan Corridor became fierce.
El Oculta is the product of that forty-year struggle for the Texan Corridor and the arms traffic into Mexico. There are many other Black Market groups in the area, but they are all small potatoes compared to El Oculta, and many exist essentially as “subcontractors” for the larger organization, working in specific zones like the Louisiana Gulf Coast or Rio Grande border and specializing in particular goods or clientele. It has been years since El Oculta has had to really go to war with a Black Market competitor, though occasionally, a Pecos Warlord will capture a caravan or market outlet and violence will flare up for a time between their troops and the cartel’s enforcers.