Members of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

Mexico’s New Generation Jalisco Cartel (CJNG) has reportedly spread its influence over the past four years into the states of Michoacán, Zacatecas and Guanajuato, with narco trafficking-linked violence in the regions increasing more and more as time goes on.

The CJNG is known for its military-like tactics, using camouflage and heavy-duty artillery, with weapon stockpiles so powerful it even managed to take down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket grenade.

Sources said leader of CJNG Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (better known as “El Mencho”) had his sights set on gaining control of his home state of Michoacán, an expansion based on personal reasons quite unlike the violent territory battles in northern states over trade routes into the United States.

The CJNG first invaded Michoacán in 2014, coming to a head in August of 2019, when nine CJNG hitmen died and 11 more were injured in a shootout that involved civilians and the local police force. That same fall, the cartel ambushed state police and killed 14 officers, and it was also responsible for various other massacres throughout the region.

During December 2020, the CJNG carried out attacks in 10 Michoacán municipalities over the course of less than three days, most taking place on the border the state shares with Jalisco.

 “We did not understand why the Jalisco Cartel wanted to take over our towns,” a Michoacán rancher told El Universal newspaper. “But now we know that it is out of pure ego, to say that it has control of its home state and wants to return to retire here.”

The CJNG’s presence in the region is based out of El Mencho’s birth municipality of Aguililla, where much of the purported violence has taken place. The cartel has been linked to the death of police, the murder of locals and the disappearance of children in the area.

Zacatecas, conversely, has become a target for the CJNG cartel due to a route throughout the region that connects the Pacific coast to border states. The state has become a battleground for control among as many as five cartels in recent years, due to its prime geographic location for expansion and trafficking.

In Guanajuato, local gang Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel (CSRL) declared open war on the CJNG in 2017 following disputes over the territory, ramping up violence between the two cartels in the state ever since.

El Mencho’s alleged violent reputation is internationally known, as the CJNG leader remains the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Number One fugitive, with a $10 million bounty out on his head.

…March 1, 2021

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