- The CJNG has contributed greatly to the rising death toll in Mexico.
- The group also has extensive money laundering networks.
- The DEA is working to dismantle its structure in the U.S.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has declared all-out war against the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, headed by drug lord Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as ‘El Mencho.” The agency has, in the past month, made a concerted effort to tear down its structure in the United States.
As such, the agency has arrested over 600 cartel members in the United States through an operation dubbed Project Python. So why’s the government so intent on taking down the criminal network?
A High Affinity for Violence
The CJNG cartel is known for its high affinity for violence, especially against its rivals. The group commonly uses guerilla tactics to attack and subdue law enforcement units. It is largely responsible for the surging homicide rate in Mexico, which has surpassed 34,000 people a year.
Most of the deaths are connected to clashes between the criminal enterprise and rival gangs. The CJNG typically expands its zones of influence in Mexico through alliances with local drug trafficking groups to take out primary players in the area. The violence between warring factions leaves in its wake a pile of homicides.
The CJNG regularly utilizes propaganda campaigns in order to win the hearts and minds of local residents. This is especially in areas where it wants to take control. Doing this allows it to get precious intel on rival gangs from the locals.
According to a Apatzingan priest who recently spoke to the Associated Press, “it seems like the Jalisco New Generation group is taking over everywhere. It seems like they allow people to work, and they don’t prey on civilians, they don’t kidnap, they don’t steal vehicles, they just go about their drug business.”
The cartel’s operations are primarily tied to the drug trade, and so are welcomed in small towns where local gangs are involved in kidnappings, extortion, and intimidation. They generally regard the Jalisco New Generation Cartel be the better evil. In the city of Apatzingan, for example, locals report that a lot of deaths are caused by the Viagras criminal group, which has a strong presence in the area.
As revealed by the AP News investigation, residents say that things are quieter when the CJNG Cartel is around. Such views are reinforced by the cartels’ social media and public campaigns, which stress that unlike rival groups, it does not steal, extort, or kidnap. This is, however, not all true. The cartel, just like other Mexican cartels has been accused of indiscriminate murders, decapitations, and acts of torture.
In 2019, the CJNG put up a banner along a major highway in the city, announcing its takeover from the Viagras. It included a reassuring message stating, “beautiful people, continue your routine.” Below the banner lay 19 corpses hung from a bridge. Some of the bodies had been dismembered. Such tactics are used by the syndicate to intimidate the general public and regional cartels.
Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, and Tamaulipas have seen a spike in killings in recent months due to fighting between the CJNG cartel and local criminal groups, such as the Los Mexicles, backed by the Sinaloa Cartel, and the Juárez Aztecas, as it seeks to take control of the zone.
Extensive Money Laundering Operations
Compared to old-school drug syndicates, such as the Los Zetas, the cartel has proved to be particularly effective in laundering proceeds from drugs. It controls a vast business empire that includes hotels, shopping centers, real estate companies, and music promotion that helps obfuscate the source of the funds.
El Mencho’s daughter, Jessica Johana Oseguera, was recently arrested for her involvement in money laundering activities connected to her father’s drug trafficking empire. She owns two major companies, Mizu Sushi Lounge, and Tequila Onze Black, which are sanctioned by the U.S. administration.