New Drug Cartel Expands Violence across Mexican States
By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, American Military University
Violence in Mexico has captured worldwide attention. Since 2006, Mexico has experienced over 3,000 murders and many other victims remain missing, according to a background report by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). In 2018, there were around 36,000 murders, many of them associated with drug cartel violence. The CFR said there have been around 90 murders a day in 2019.
The fall of infamous drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has had little impact on the Mexican drug trade or on cartel-related violence. Mexican towns along the southwest border with the United States remain war zones.
For example, in the border town of Reynosa, armed cartel members are commonly seen driving around in pickup trucks loaded with large caches of firearms. Also, in Reynosa, road checkpoints are often conducted by cartel members instead of the police. The situation has become so dire that taxi drivers use software programs such as WhatsApp to identify safe routes through the city around cartel checkpoints.
Citizens Are Often Caught in the Crossfire between Rival Cartels
Citizens are often caught in the crossfire between rival cartels. Migrants who are either being detained in Mexico or who are traveling through the country in hopes of asylum in the U.S. are especially vulnerable to cartel exploitation, sexual assault, and violence.
The Drug Enforcement Administration calls the Mexican cartels “the largest foreign suppliers of drugs” such as heroin, meth, and cocaine to the United States., Mexican drug cartels are the leading manufacturer of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that poses an especially dangerous hazard to drug users. Fentanyl is dangerous also to law enforcement officers who come in contact with the drug or inhale it.
Among the many dangerous drug cartels in Mexico, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion) has gained a lot of attention this year for its bloody turf wars According to the Department of Justice, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is one of the five most dangerous transnational organizations in the world.
Jalisco New Generation Cartel is Known for Violent Confrontations with Police and Rival Cartels
This cartel splintered from Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel in 2011 and is known for violent confrontations with the law and other rival cartels. Jalisco New Generation Cartel members were suspected of shooting down a Mexican army helicopter in 2015, with a rocket propelled grenade killing six Mexican soldiers.
According to a DEA press release last year, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel “exerts influence in 23 of 31 (75 percent) of [sic] Mexican states, including key drug production and transportation corridors.”
The cartel has grown through a command and control structure that is similar to that of a military organization. It uses violence, intimidation, and extortion in those areas where it has influence. The cartel also uses complicated money laundering techniques to fund its operations. It has efficient drug transportation routes throughout Mexico, the DEA says. In addition, it is engaged in illegal activity in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
The leader of the cartel is Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, who goes by the nickname El Mencho, which has many meanings in English – crude, rude, garish and oaf, among others. Rolling Stone magazine called him “an even more dangerous drug lord” than El Chapo. Oseguera has been indicted on drug trafficking charges and is on the run. The U.S. State Department says he has grown the organization into a powerful international organized crime enterprise that distributes drugs around the world.
As a result of the current crime wave, kidnappings and violence in Mexico, the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warning for several Mexican states including Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipa. The State Department says the dangers in some of these states include gang violence, and armed groups who set up roadblocks and target public and private passenger buses.
About the Author:
Dr. Jarrod Sadulski has over two decades of homeland security experience that has involved counter-drug and human trafficking operations. Dr. Sadulski is a faculty member with American Military University and frequently engages in public speaking events. Dr. Sadulski presented at the International Human Trafficking & Social Justice Conference at the University of Toledo on the topic of human trafficking in September 2019 and shared some of his research on human trafficking in Central America. Dr. Sadulski also recently presented at the Southern Criminal Justice Association’s Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in September of 2019 and will be traveling to Central and South America to further his research in the coming months. In addition to domestic speaking engagements, Dr. Sadulski has spoken in Europe and Central America on topics associated with human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, and police responses to domestic terrorism. He has been a faculty member with American Military University since 2011.