Battling Super Cartels

Reuters photo



Ricardo Swire



Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation Cartel or CJNG has developed a reputation for violently engaging law enforcement units using guerrilla style tactics. The criminal empire emerged in 2010 after a clash for drug trafficking spoils belonging to a prominent Sinaloa Cartel boss, killed in a gun battle with Mexican Marines. For five years CJNG used Manzanillo, in Colima state on the Pacific Ocean, for importation of chemical precursors from Asia to manufacture methamphetamines.


In 2015 a series of cartel attacks killed twenty-one Mexican federal police officers in twenty days. CJNG gunmen ambushed a police convoy and murdered fifteen officers in the assault. a military helicopter also shot down; aggressive organizational expansion manoeuvres that gave CJNG its Tijuana drug turf. The super cartel’s Tepalcatapec headquarters is situated between Jalisco and Michoacán states, conveniently positioned at the crossroads of two major highways where drug consignments’ processing and packing operations prepare for northward travel.


The strategic location also puts CJNG in striking range of Michoacán state rivals. Geographically Tepalcatapec sits at the top of Tierra Caliente, the cactus-filled valley that functions as a drug funnel, extending down both sides of mountains. Competitors, the Knights Templar, controlled Tierra Caliente until 2014, when Cisneros began to dominate the territory, CJNG filled voids. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorized the criminal outfit as “one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico that also operate cells within the US.”


CJNG affiliations with criminal organization in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America guarantees overseas tenacity. After more than ten years of law enforcement crackdowns, on trafficking and cartels, Mexico’s drug trade rages on in splintered factions with no “pacto” in place. The Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels have faced-off in Colima state. 2016 Federal records in this slaughter capital documented four hundred and thirty-four murders in nine months. Such killings serve as proof of Mexico’s nationwide organized crime realignment.


A section called “Los Cuinis” manages CJNG’s finances and accounts. Over the years it was “control room” in CJNG’s national power surge. On Monday May 21, 2018 CJNG gunmen forcefully entered a Guadalajara restaurant and attacked an ex-state prosecutor. A few days later Mexican Marines intercepted the CJNG top boss’ wife in Guadalajara, Jalisco state. Federal Police detained El Mencho’s spouse on money laundering charges. Sunday May 27, 2018 Marines arrested CJNG operator “El Abuelo” in Michoacán. “Javier N” a CJNG precursor chemicals supplier was also arrested.


“El Chema,” or the strong boss and financial brain directed Los Cuinis after his brother’s December 27, 2015 arrest in Fortaleza, Brazil.  As brother-in-law of CJNG boss El Mencho, he too features on American and Mexican law enforcement Wanted Lists for cocaine trafficking and importation of precursor chemicals. According to recent US DEA data the Sinaloa Cartel is most powerful and Los Cuinis is “the richest in Mexico.” The new-age organized crime syndicate has maximised the advantage of not competing in the US market.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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