Mexican officials hold the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) responsible for a series of brazen attacks over the last month, including an assassination attempt on Mexico City’s police chief on 26 June and the assassination of a federal judge and his wife last month. The judge was involved in the extradition case that sent CJNG boss ‘El Mencho’s’ son to face charges in the United States.
Many experts are now convinced that the CJNG has emerged as the most powerful criminal organization in Mexico following the arrest and extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Local officials from Jalisco told The Wall Street Journal that the Jalisco New Generation Cartel has killed more than 100 public servants in its home state, ranging from mayors to soldiers and police, consolidating its power through a campaign of terror against anyone who threatens or challenges their power.
The attack on 26 June in Mexico’s capital city, however, indicated that the cartel’s war against the State could be entering a new level targetting high level officals with military-style assaults. The Wall Street Joiurnal subsequently reported of the attack:
more than two dozen gunmen mounted a predawn ambush, shooting at Mexico City’s police chief as his convoy drove down leafy, iconic Reforma Avenue and shattering the calm of the capital’s most elegant neighborhood, home to ambassadors, cabinet ministers and tycoons.
Using Barrett semiautomatic rifles, the assailants riddled Omar García Harfuch’s armored Suburban with more than 400 rounds. The police chief, hit three times, survived…
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a retired Mexican security official said the CJNG has become the ‘most urgent threat’ to national security in Mexico:
“These people have the firepower and the money to challenge the Mexican state,” Renato Sales, one of Mexico’s former security commissioners, said in an interview with the newspaper. “The Jalisco New Generation Cartel is the most urgent threat to Mexico’s national security.” LINK
Mexican intelligence officials attribute the cartel’s growing strength to its unity – most other cartels have been weakened or destroyed by internal conflicts among members.
The Wall Street Journal reports the Jalisco cartel killed a federal judge and his wife last month and Mexican authorities are trying to monitor their activities and communications to anticipate who may be targeted next. Separately, the report states that the cartel is involved in a turf war against gangs in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato over control of a $3 billion market in stolen gasoline.
“This is an example of the challenge the Mexican state is being confronted with,” Enrique Alfaro, the governor of Jalisco – who is reported to be on the list (of the cartel’s targets) – was quoted as telling local media. “What we are seeing is a threat to institutions.”
The Jalisco cartel is run by Nemesio Oseguera, ‘El Mencho’, for whom the US Drug Enforcement Administration has a $10 million reward out for information leading to his capture. Oseguera, a former Mexico police officer, is believed to be hiding somewhere in the mountains of Jalisco state according to The Wall Street Journal’s sources.
Last year, the DEA labelled the Jalisco cartel “the most well-armed” in Mexico and said it is dealing its drugs in many US cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.
Security analysts that spoke to The Wall Street Journal believe the cartel is launching attacks in response to recent setbacks, and in particular the February extradition of Oseguera’s son to the US to face drug charges. The federal judge that was killed in Colima state last month served in one of the cases against him.
In March, US authorities arrested 600 people believed to be linked to the cartel, and in June Mexico’s Finance Ministry froze nearly 2,000 bank accounts allegedly tied to their operations.
“I feel that the Jalisco cartel is on a crusade of vengeance for the injuries they feel they have suffered,” Eduardo Guerrero, a Mexican security analyst, told the newspaper. “We are at the beginning of a wave of massacres and assassinations of police and judicial officials. It’s part of a strategy to show strength to the government.”
The CJNG released two videos last month in which they in turn claimed that they are being set up as scape goats for much of the violence that has occurred in recent times, alleging that there is a ‘State cartel’ in which senior public officials are involved.
Although the CJNG is now widely recognized as the most powerful of the cartels, it is by no means the only power south of the Rio Grande. While many experts claim the Sinaloa Cartel has lost a lot of its power due to internal disputes between El Chapo’s sons and a former second in command (Ismael Zambada Garcia, ‘El Mayo’), its members demonstrated last November beyond any possible doubt that they retain a large degree of firepower when they in effect took hostage the entire town of Culiacan when one of El Chapo’s sons was detained by authorities. The authorities opted to release the captive rather than provoke an all-out slaughter that could easily have claimed hundreds of lives.
Apart from the attempted assassination of Mexico City’s police chief and the assassination of the federal judge and his wife, last month also saw a clash between authorities and another cartel which may trigger another wave of revenge attacks. On 20 June it was reported that violent clashes had taken place in the city of Celaya in the Mexican state of Guanajuato between members of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel and Mexican security forces.
Twenty-six people were subsequently arrested, including the mother, sister and a cousin of Jose “El Marro” Yepez, leader of the cartel. Yepez later issued a threat against the government via social media, vowing to avenge the arrest of several of his family members and accusing authorities of fabricating false charges against them.
Earlier this month, on 2 July, gunmen stormed a drug rehab centre where according to media reports they lined up their victims and shot them, killing 24 and injuring seven more. The attack occurred almost at the same time as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was speaking about his government’s success in reducing violent crime.
The attack took place in Irapuato, Guanajuato, at the Recuperando Mi Vida drug rehabilitation centre, said local Public Security Director Pedro Cortes Zavala. The gunmen arrived in a red vehicle and forced everyone inside to the floor before opening fire.
Mexican federal law enforcement sources consulted by Breitbart Texas said they thought the attack was carried out by the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) as part of its campaign for territorial expansion in the state. According to several media reports, that effort has led to numerous clashes with a local fuel theft outfit known as Cartel Santa Rosa de Lima. Almost a month earlier, on June 6, gunmen killed 10 victims in a similar mass shooting at rehab centre called Empezando Una Nueva Vida, also in Irapuato. LINK
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Mexican cartel CJNG releases statement saying state cartel is behind killings in some provinces
- Mexico the evolution of the drug wars and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion