By KELIN DILLON
Reports coming from the Mexican state of Jalisco say that infamous drug lord Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, better known as “El Mencho,” has built his own hospital in the region in an unusual gesture of goodwill for the increasingly violent crime boss, and also in an apparent attempt to help combat the kidney disease he apparently suffers from.
As the leader of the violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), El Mencho is currently the most wanted cartel member in the United States, following the void left after the arrest of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, with a $10 million reward offered by Mexico’s northern neighbor for information leading to the kingpin’s capture.
Despite being called “Public Enemy Number One” by top security experts, little is known about El Mencho outside of his penchant for violence, with as few as three known pictures of him in existence.
“He’s very secretive,” organized crime expert Chris Dalby told The Guardian. “He does not show himself … He’s not a man of the people like El Chapo, who cultivated that cult of personality, who was seen engaging with people, a little bit like Pablo Escobar. He’s part of an evolution of drug kingpins who want to keep themselves in the shadows.”
“Mencho’s leadership is indisputable, (but) discreet,” said an alleged hitman for the gangster. “He has its bastion of control in southern Jalisco. No one touches him there, no one messes with him and he’s happy.”
According to information coming from Jalisco, the new hospital was reportedly built in the small village of El Alcíhuatl in the same region known for El Mencho’s network of hideouts, some 250 kilometers away from the state’s capital of Guadalajara. The area is also where the CJNG notoriously shot down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket-launcher back in 2015 during the army’s failed attempt to capture the cartel leader.
While many organized crime members keep doctors on their payroll, El Mencho allegedly bankrolled the hospital as a way to better treat the kidney condition he reportedly suffers from, though the clinic is apparently open for the use of his employees as well as locals of the region.
The CJNG currently has a presence in 23 of Mexico’s 32 states, with its violence increasing as the cartel has “aggressively expanded” its control over the past year, after taking advantage of the country’s destabilization from the covid-19 pandemic, with increased reports of clandestine graves and homicide rates throughout CJNG territory.
Now, with the hospital apparently up and running in Jalisco, perhaps the very people impacted by the CJNG’s violence will have the opportunity to treat their cartel-inflicted wounds, courtesy of the goodness of El Mencho’s kidney.
…April 7, 2021