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The Mendez Cartel was a very powerful drug cartel operating out of Vice City in the early 80's, until 1984; they are featured as the main group of antagonists in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. The Cartel is led by the brothers Diego and Armando Mendez, who are of Bolivian descent.

Events of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

During the storyline for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, the Mendez Cartel have a big shipment coming in, which is stolen by the Vance Crime Family leaders, Victor and Lance Vance. The two mistake the drugs as belonging to Jerry Martinez, former sergeant of Victor in the army. After finding out that the drugs belonged to the Mendez Cartel, the Vances go and officially "explain themselves" to Diego and Armando Mendez. The Vances lie and claim that Martinez stole the drugs, using photos of Martinez talking to the feds.

After doing a couple of favors for the Mendez brothers, Victor Vance is put in contact with Ricardo Diaz, a rival drug baron, through Reni Wassulmaier who is actually an 'item' with Diego Mendez. When the Vances are called over to the Mendez mansion they are rewarded with a death trap led by Mendez, full of explosives. The Vances manage to escape and declare war on the Mendez Cartel.

After several failed attempts, Armando Mendez kidnaps Louise Cassidy-Williams and Lance; Armando then kills Louise, while Victor makes his way inside the Mendez mansion, confronting and killing a flamethrower-wielding Armando. Diego Mendez then escapes to the Mendez Foundation Building in Downtown. Victor, with the help of Louise's brother, Phil Cassidy, breaks into Fort Baxter military base and steals a Hunter. Later on, he uses it to attack the remaining head of the cartel, Diego.

The Hunter is shot down but Victor manages to crash land it on the roof and survive the explosion. Forced to search through the building to find Diego, he makes his way through floor by floor and finally reaches his target. In a confrontation on the roof, Jerry Martinez, Victor Vance and Diego Mendez take part in a three-way gunfight where Victor wins and kills the other two, leaving a power vacuum in the city's drug trade open for someone else to establish their own dominance.

Afterward, the Mendez Cartel quickly crumbles and is non-existent by 1986. The Mendez Cartel's mansion on Prawn Island is eventually taken over by the Sharks sometime between 1984 and 1986, and during that interval the Mendez Building is demolished and replaced by a much smaller building.

The Mendez Cartel members are depicted as wearing suits, with light colored shirts underneath, as well as having either a noticeable moustache or ponytail. It was the most powerful criminal organization in Vice City at the time, but when their leaders were killed, the Diaz cartel quickly seized most of the drug trade in the city. The Cartel members cannot be found on the streets outside of missions.

Prominent Appearances in Missions

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories


  • The Mendez Cartel members will use a mix of Spanish and English to taunt Victor Vance.
  • They seem to dislike advanced technology, including the Domestobot, as shown in the mission Domo Arigato Domestoboto.
  • They are the most dangerous gang in GTA VCS.
  • The Mendez Cartel is the only gang that does not appear in the street.