The Cartel pretty much runs Bolivia. El Sueño is a very dangerous man and his hunger for money leads him to bring the cartel the place where there is lots of coca. He has bribed the government which gives the cartel the freedom to do anything they want. They also have an agreement with the local military forces, UNIDAD.
Equipment and Personnel Edit
Since the Cartel is powerful, they have vehicles such as Humvee's equipped with mini-guns and Armored Personnel carriers, and even employ some helicopters. Their equipment is modern, but is not on par with the Ghosts and Unidad. Most of the personnel working for Santa Blanca seem to be former mercenaries.
It was founded by El Sueño, a dangerous sicario who had a dream of creating a narco state. He therefore brought the cartel to Bolivia in 2008. He offered the citizens a choice between "silver or lead" - benefit from the cartel or be killed.
Pac Katari led a rebellion against the cartel.
The cartel was infiltrated by the DEA agent Ricky Sandoval. After his cover was blown, the agent is killed and the US government initiates Operation Kingslayer to take down the cartel. A Ghost Recon led by Nomad is sent in and systematically works there way up to El Sueño.
In the Narco Road DLC, a parallel story to the main game, players take control of a Ghost infiltrator who joins one of the gangs inside the cartel in order to uncover the secretive head of their world-class smuggling operations.
Santa Blanca therefore becomes allies, and the new enemy becomes a rival gang.