The Case Of “El Mencho” And The Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación

The DEA is offering a $10,000,000 reward to anyone who provides information to the United States government resulting in the arrest of “El Mencho,” a Mexican drug lord whose real name is Nemesio Rubén Oseguera-Cervantes. El Mencho is the leader of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), a powerful and violent criminal organization. According to the Justice Department, the CJNG has trafficked vast quantities of methamphetamine, cocaineheroin, and fentanyl into the United States. By now, the CJNG is the source of at least one-third of all illegal drugs that enter the country.

El Mencho is a formidable foe for the DEA. With over 5,000 members and numerous operations in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, his disciplined and well-organized cartel utilizes extensive transportation networks and advanced money laundering techniques to transmit narcotics around the world. In Mexico, the CJNG is especially pervasive. El Mencho established the CJNG in only 2011, but the DEA estimates that his cartel already exists in almost every Mexican state.

In recent years, the CJNG has developed a reputation for extreme violence in Mexico, a country where drug cartels already commit thousands of homicides every year. The cartel has inflicted brutal executions and torture on rival cartel members and innocent bystanders alike, even broadcasting some acts of violence on social media.

No drug lord has generated as much attention from the United States government since Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the former leader of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel. A federal court in New York sentenced Guzmán to life in prison in July. He was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the United States in 2017. According to DEA Agent Kyle Mori, El Mencho may be more difficult to arrest than El Chapo ever was. Unlike Guzmán, El Mencho avoids cities. Instead, he moves frequently through his stronghold states of Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacán and always stays in the Sierra Madre mountains.

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The DOJ Indicts CJNG Leaders

Although El Mencho himself has avoided capture, some other leaders in his cartel are facing justice. Last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed fifteen indictments against El Mencho and his collaborators, some of whom are already in custody. The most prominent CJNG leader currently in custody is Rubén “El Menchito” Oseguera-Gonzalez, El Mencho’s son. The Mexican police arrested Oseguera-Gonzalez in 2015. He remains imprisoned in Mexico, but the United States has requested his extradition to face trial for an array of serious crimes.

Other CJNG leaders who await extradition to the United States include Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, El Mencho’s brother-in-law who managed the cartel’s finances, and Jesús “Canasto” Contreras Arceo, who faces drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Two other CJNG leaders, Diego Pineda Sanchez and Carlos Parra-Pedroza, have already pleaded guilty to laundering over $100 million of cartel profits through a gold-trading scheme. Despite joint Mexican-American success in bringing down some of El Mencho’s deputies, many more of them remain fugitives and the cartel is still active and growing.

The United States Classifies Mexican Cartels As Terrorist Organizations

The Louisville Courier Journal published an extensive report on November 25 which documents how El Mencho’s cartel has flooded small-town America with dangerous narcotics. The Courier investigation uncovered CJNG activity in at least thirty-five states, always with severe human costs. “We consider this cartel to be one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations on the face of the Earth, and it is doing unimaginable damage to the people of this nation,” then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated last year.

In response to El Mencho’s assault on both Mexicans and Americans, President Donald Trump announced on November 27 that his administration will classify Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations. This policy would allow the United States to use military force in Mexico to attack cartels, including CJNG.

However, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador quickly rejected American assistance as his country prepares for another year of a violent drug war which has killed tens of thousands of people. “Our problems will be solved by Mexicans. We don’t want any interference from any foreign country,” López Obrador said. In a show of resolve, the Mexican government sent the military to Michoacán in October to fight CJNG after the cartel murdered at least thirteen police officers there and another fifteen people in the neighboring state of Guerrero.

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Nathan Yerby

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  • Nathan Yerby is a writer and researcher. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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