This week, the priority activity on the president’s agenda Andrés Manuel López Obrador is his working tour of the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima. All three are considered to be the main epicenters of violence in Mexico.
In the particular case of Jalisco, it is the bastion of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG), even though their leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho”, He is originally from Michoacán, this entity was where he developed his criminal career.
According to the latest figures from the Executive Secretariat, in 2019 it was one of the 5 states with the highest number of intentional homicides, registering 2,030 murders. It also became in the state with the most missing.
This cartel is credited with the attack suffered by the Mexico City police chief, Omar García Harfuch, on June 26, when around thirty assassins shot his truck in one of the most exclusive areas of the metropolis at dawn. The two bodyguards who were with him and a woman passing by did not survive the attack. García Harfuch received three bullet wounds and multiple chips.
After the attack, the National Intelligence Center (CNI) reinforced the tracking of CJNG phone calls. Thanks to one of these interventions, it was possible to find out about the plans to attack actors of the front line political life such as Marcelo Ebrard, Alfonso Durazo, Santiago Nieto and Omar García Harfuch.
The origins of the CJNG
The CJNG’s history dates back to July 2010, after the former Sinaloa Cartel boss, Ignacio Coronel, alias “Nacho”, He was shot down by the security forces. Back then Jalisco remained relatively calm.
Before his death, Colonel gave orders to Oscar Orlando Nava Valencia, alias “The wolf“Leader of the Millennium Cartel. This criminal group trafficked drug shipments, handled the finances of the Sinaloa Cartel, and operated mainly in the states of Jalisco and Colima, later extending to Michoacán and at federal District (today Mexico City).
When Nacho Coronel died, “El Lobo” had been captured and the Millennium Cartel had suffered a series of internal fractures, dividing into two factions: “La Resistencia” and “Los Torcidos”. In the power vacuum left by Nacho’s death, both groups clashed over the control of drug trafficking in Jalisco, and “Los Torcidos” became what is now known as the CJNG, emerging as the successors of the Sinaloan capo network in the region.
Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho”, Is considered the leader and founder of the CJNG, and its original partners were Erick Valencia, alias “El 85” and Martín Arzola Ortega, alias “El 53”, both former members of the Millennium Cartel. Abigael González Valencia, another former member of the Millennium Cartel, brother-in-law of “El Mencho” and leader of the criminal organization “Los Cuinis”, allegedly helped finance the rise of the CJNG. Several media have referred to González Valencia as the “financial operator” of the CJNG or have even claimed that he is one of the people in charge of the group.
In the period after the emergence of the CJNG, the murder rate, enforced disappearances, and the discovery of clandestine graves increased significantly in Jalisco. The cartel also had an initial mission to combat Los Zetas in the state of Veracruz, under the name of Los Matazetas, whom some sources describe as a CJNG equivalent and others like one group special cell, responsible for the murders. The group claimed responsibility for the massacre of 35 people in Veracruz in 2011, and a month later the authorities discovered the bodies of 30 other alleged victims.
The CJNG is also known for targeting Mexican society through idealistic propaganda, referring to solidarity and promising to get rid of other criminal groups operating in its territory. During the coronavirus pandemic, the CJNG distributed food in various locations, including in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, the second most important city in the country.
However, their criminal domain is limited to the area of Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima, to the port of Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán, to the state of Veracruz and to the oil theft zone that spans the states of Guanajuato, Puebla, Querétaro and Hidalgo.
Other strategic places where the group has a strong presence, although it disputes with other organizations, are the border cities of Tijuana and Juarez, the region of Hot Earth –Which covers municipalities in Michoacán, Guerrero and the State of Mexico-, and the Riviera Maya.
In addition to its presence in Mexico, the cartel would have contacts in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Central America, the United States, Canada, Australia and Southeast Asia, connections it uses for traffic marijuana, cocaine and synthetic drugs.
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