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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, Victor's former sergeant from his brief stint in the army. After learning that the drugs belonged to the Mendez Cartel, the Vance brothers attempt to "explain themselves" to Diego and Armando Mendez; Victor and Lance lie by claiming that Martinez stole the drugs, using photos that depict Martinez talking to the feds in order to implicate him.

After successfully completing a number of favors for the Mendez brothers, Victor is put into contact with Ricardo Diaz, a rival drug baron in the city, through Reni Wassulmaier, who apparently is an 'item' with Diego Mendez. When the Vance brothers are called over to the Mendez mansion, they are rewarded with a death trap led by Mendez full of explosives. Victor and Lance manage to escape, declaring war on the Mendez Cartel.

After several failed attempts, Armando Mendez kidnaps both Lance and Louise Cassidy-Williams; Armando mortally wounds Louise as Victor makes his way inside the Mendez mansion, confronting and killing a flamethrower-wielding Armando before attending to Louise during her final moments. Meanwhile, Diego Mendez 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 confront and attack the remaining head of the cartel, Diego, along with his men.

After a long and fierce battle, the Hunter is eventually shot down, but Victor manages to crash land it on the roof and survives the ensuing explosion. Forced to search for Diego, he sweeps through the building floor by floor, encountering and killing many of Diego's men before finally reaching his target. In a final confrontation on the roof, Victor Vance, Diego Mendez, and Jerry Martinez find themselves in a Mexican standoff before erupting into a three-way gunfight in which Victor emerges victorious by shooting and killing the other two men. The deaths of Mendez and Martinez creates a power vacuum in the city's drug trade, now open for a new kingpin 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 (now known as the Streetwannabe's) 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 mustache or ponytail. During its time of operation, it was the most powerful criminal organization in Vice City. However, when its leaders were killed, the Diaz Cartel quickly seized and took control of most of the drug trade within the city. The Mendez 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.
  • The Mendez Cartel is the only gang in the game that does not appear in the street outside missions or Rampages.