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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Betrayals, In-Fighting, Mysteriously Vanished Leader - Is Jalisco Cartel on the Brink?

Posted by "narcomappingmx" for Borderland Beat

25 MAY 2022 BY: PETER APPLEBY 

After a decade of lightning growth in membership and territory, the CJNG’s reign as Mexico’s most dominant and ruthless cartel may be showing the same signs of wear that foreshadowed the downfall of its many predecessors.

A formidable force and present in most of the country, the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación - CJNG) is now facing challenges on multiple fronts. Concerns over the health — and perhaps even death — of all-powerful leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias "El Mencho,” who has not been seen for years, are prompting once loyal groups to breakaway, while internal disharmonies have come to a bloody head along a vital drug trafficking route in northern Michoacán.

Meanwhile El Mencho’s birthplace, the town of Aguililla, has become the focal point in a deadlocked ground war, as rival cartels allied against the Jalisco Cartel stall its offensive and squeeze it from all sides.

This unprecedented attack on the supremacy of the CJNG, considered by the US Department of Justice to be “one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world,” draws a comparison between the mega cartel and the many others before it that have groaned and then collapsed under their own weight, like the Zetas, the Beltrán-Leyva Organization (BLO) and the Tijuana Cartel.

Are the CJNG’s troubles proof that even the most powerful of Mexico’s criminal organizations eventually succumb to success and greed, or nothing more than the inherent dynamics of a violent crime gang writ large?

Here, InSight Crime looks at the three major flashpoints that are producing cracks in the armor of the CJNG. 

The Mezcales in Colima

In early 2022, a series of “narcomantas” appeared around the city of Colima, in the state of the same name. The messages, penned by a smaller local group, made a bold claim: El Mencho had suffered a cardiac arrest and was dead. 


The group making the claim was the Mezcales (also known as Cartel Independiente de Colima), presumably headed by José Bernabé Brizuela Meraz, alias “La Vaca.” Until this point, the Mezcales had acted as the CJNG’s local enforcers, working under the larger cartel’s direction. But without El Mencho at the helm, La Vaca believed the Jalisco Cartel had been stripped of respect and status, and he no longer felt obliged to give his former employer devotion. Now, he wanted control.

“I owe respect and loyalty only to El Mencho,” La Vaca is reported to have said when declaring his decision.

In late January, the bullets began to fly. Colima witnessed an explosion of violence as fighting broke out over control of the state, which clings to Mexico’s western coast and, though small, is strategically important for organized crime. Colima’s port, Manzanillo, is a major arrival point for chemical precursors, and the state also borders Jalisco — the seat of the Jalisco Cartel’s power —and Michoacán, a predominantly agricultural state that has long been a drug trafficking hub.

Skirmishes lasted for over a month and at least 60 people were killed, La Jornada reported. In response to the violence, over 2,000 soldiers and members of the National Guard were sent to the state. 

The claims of El Mencho’s demise were foundational to this bloodletting, but their reliability is questionable.

The leader's disappearance has certainly generated suspicions of his passing. He has not been seen in public for some time, and he is understood to be ill, most likely with a kidney disease. In July 2020, Mexican authorities located a hospital in Jalisco that is believed to have been built by the CJNG to garner support from locals and to provide a secure medical unit in which the cartel leader can receive care.

So far, authorities have refused to confirm El Mencho’s death, stating only that “there is no reliable information” that proves the rumors. No body has been located, and he remains on the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Most Wanted list. 

Reports of his death, fueled by the lack of sightings, have circulated for at least two years. But according to Prensa Libre, the main proof offered by the Mezcales was that the handwriting on notes allegedly penned by El Mencho had changed. Alleged plaza bosses and sicarios also paid tribute to the apparently fallen leader on social media, and messages referring to an “heir” arriving shortly were also shared, La Voz De Michoacán reported.

Mike Vigil, the former chief of the DEA's international operations, told InSight Crime that rumors of El Mencho’s demise are unfounded, though he believes that the crime boss is sick.

“Many Mexican drug traffickers have faked their own deaths and have spread rumors to take the heat off of them,” he told InSight Crime. “When criminals have health issues and are on the run from both security forces and rival cartels, they can’t get the medical attention that they usually would. Ismael Zambada García, alias “El Mayo," is a diabetic but refuses to come out of the mountains for treatment for fear of capture.”

The Pájaros Sierra on the Jalisco-Michoacán Border

The sharp crack of gunfire that cut through the calm of a Sunday afternoon in Mazamitla, Jalisco ended the lives of three sicarios and signaled the willingness of emerging criminal organizations to stand up to the might of the CJNG.

The shootout on May 1 between the Jalisco Cartel and a group, which the Mexican government dubbed Pájaros Sierra, was just one of several battles that took place earlier this year in towns along a vital drug trafficking highway between Morelia, Michoacán and Guadalajara, Jalisco.

So new is the group that its name has not yet been confirmed. The media often refers to the group as the “Pájaros de la Sierra,” but InSight Crime investigators have found that residents of towns where fighting broke out are not familiar with it.

The moniker chosen by the Mexican government may not be linked to any title the group itself uses, said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst. In fact, emerging groups are often given names by the government in order to impose a narrative on otherwise chaotic and frightening events, he said.

“It creates a notion that this is a highly structured, vertically-integrated criminal organization that has a clear identity,” Hope said.

However, there is one element in the group’s story that everyone seems to agree on: its alleged involvement in the apparent massacre of 17 CJNG members at a funeral in San José de Gracia, Michoacán in February. 

As InSight Crime reported at the time, the massacre was the result of a long-running feud between regional CJNG leaders.

The Mexican government alleged that the Pájaros Sierra were the gunmen in the massacre, and the CJNG later released threats that promised revenge against the group for their part in the killings. These threats were not idle; the apparent murder of the Pájaros Sierra leader, “Palillo,” was later reported by La Opinion. 

On May 5, the arrest of eight alleged members of the Pájaros Sierra for their part in the funeral killings was announced.

Despite the appearance of this new and violent faction and its role within cartel infighting, the CJNG’s message remains firm, said Mike Vigil. The Jalisco Cartel’s swift response against Palillo demonstrated it still operates in a top-down fashion, and demands complete loyalty. Those who try to break that structure face severe consequences.

“Unlike the Sinaloa Cartel where the decision-making process runs across the line, the CJNG has a hierarchical structure: El Mencho runs it like an autocrat and his orders must be obeyed without question. If a person contradicts an order it is an automatic death sentence; the Jalisco Cartel has a clear internal mandate,” he said.

Yet the arrival of the so-called Pájaros Sierra underscores the kind of insurgent opposition it faces in several regions. Unlike the Sinaloa Cartel, which can draw on regional patriotism for legitimacy in certain areas, the CJNG cannot claim any form of kinship in most of the regions it operates in. Instead, it must rely on brokering alliances with local actors and weaker cartels in areas it seeks to control.

“In some ways it’s a misnomer to say the CJNG is a cartel. [Like the CJNG], most cartels are a coalition of regional organizations or cells that use the label but are not tied within a structure to leadership,” said Hope.


The Correa and Cárteles Unidos in Southern Michoacán

In southern and eastern Michoacán, the CJNG’s all-out attack for control has been halted, and it is now engaged in multiple draining conflicts that have reached bitter stalemates. Here, the fighting has been so vicious that the use of military-grade weaponry including “narco-tanks,” IEDs and rocket launchers, has become commonplace, InSight Crime reported in early March.

Part of this is related to geography: the south Michoacán town of Aguililla, where El Mencho was born, is at the center of the battle, and pride is therefore at play. Violence grew in Aguililla after the CJNG attempted to drive out local rivals including Cárteles Unidos, an alliance of cartels that include the Viagras and Cartel de Tepalcatepec. 

“El Mencho is at war in Michoacán for several reasons. One is that, the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas, one of Mexico’s largest seaports, is located there, and controlling the state also gives access to a rail system. But most importantly it’s his home state: he takes it as a personal affront that other cartels are trying to take control,” said Vigil.

In the east of the state, the CJNG has also been hit hard. 

On March 27, the Correa, a family-run cell with links to the once-powerful cartel, La Familia Michoácana, carried out an assault against a crowd at an illegal cockfight in the town of Zinapécuaro. The target was William Rivera, alias “El Barbas,” a local CJNG leader. El Barbas was one of the 20 people killed in the attack. 

The Correa, headed by Daniel Correa Velázquez, alias “El Tigre,” began their criminal life in illegal logging, The Yucatan Times reported. Now, however, it has moved into drug trafficking, and does not fear quarrelling with the Jalisco Cartel on El Mencho’s native land.

Another notable action in the area’s turf war was the arrest of Juan Miguel N., alias “El Johnny,” a leader of the Rojos, a small group with strong links to the state of Guerrero, another drug trafficking hub on Michoacán’s southern border. The Rojos have previously fought against the CJNG in both Guerrero and Morelos, and the arrest of El Johnny suggests the group may be looking to expand in El Mencho’s home state.

But Michoacán isn’t the only place where the CJNG has seen its efforts to gain control fall short. In Guanajuato, the gang has been fighting with the Santa Rosa de Lima since 2017. In Veracruz it is embroiled in a war with the Old School Zetas.

Where the cartel was once seen as an incredible threat, recent instability and questions over the whereabouts of its leader, may give local groups the incentive to stand firm.

“The CJNG grew very rapidly — it’s probably the fastest growing cartel in the history of Mexico. But they have been unable to solidify all territory they have gained, and this leads to insurrections,” Vigil said.


48 comments:

  1. Here in union de tvla mencho is still very well present

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    1. People would say that but mencho could still be present I want to makes this clear to all that pay attention mencho y no way or form anymore from Michoacán he’s jalisco since he the one betrayed he’s native land and people mencho is a traitor to the state of Michoacán he will never be considered to be from the great state and if he’s dead I’m glad Michoacán servers this land more than anyone mencho is a rat a insult of Michoacán and he knew where to hit and how because he knew he’s the worst boss that could ever existed in cartel and him and his cartel now use him as a idol Be he is a traitor to Michoacán fuck Jalisco and fuck he’s people

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    2. WTF did you write? Secret Management on the China Blue.

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  2. Look at Tizapan el alto Jalisco police don’t want news to come out but there’s always a leak there killing pájaros las 4 letras for traders and also kidnapinng it’s out of control if your 15 and up they will reclute you or your family dies look into it

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  3. The only ones braking away from cjng are old familia michoacana factions nothing else, the original cjng are still strong and taking more plazas for mr mencho, arriva es señor de los gallos!!!!

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    1. Calmate Juan rambo

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    2. Ya deja de mamarsela a mencho wey

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    3. Perdooon estas celosa? Lo quieres solo para ti?

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  4. "Mira bien, hijo de tu puta madre- Soy “Mencho”, wey. Relaja a tu puta gente a la verga, soy Mencho, guey. Relaja a toda tu partida, si no, te voy a partir tu madre a ti y a toda tu bola de perros. Te tengo identificados 20 weyes. Hasta a tus putos perros te voy a matar si no te relajas, wey. ¿Cómo ves?"

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  5. Ok map. So so information. No disrespect at narcomappingmx.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your feedback! This is reposted from InSight Crime, not original research. I think it adds an interesting perspective which adds to discussion.

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    2. I appreciate it, thank you

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    3. NarcoMmx, so glad you posted this. I was reading it last night and thought interesting perspective as well.

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  6. Either one of you guys clearly should be contributing to Juan Rambos ONLYFANS page or talk about something relevant. Also NO DISRESPECT AT ALL TO JUAN RAMBO. Someone mentioned something about Sicario006. And i was actually wondering myself since it has been mentioned that he's a real sicario besides all the fantasmagorical things he writes.

    Hope everyone is well.

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  7. I know some people might not like this. But man i have to respect Bukele for doing what he's doing. Maybe someday the beautiful people of Mexico will say "Enough is enough " and something will change.

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    1. 7:30 the mexican melitary has decided Law Enforcement is their exclusive domain, with a little help of frankly corrupt police and intelligence agencies
      the mexican people are like babies and hoes to be exploited as they see fit.
      The US is the same, but their politicians still hold the power of obstructionism for their lobby investing masters wiff billions of dollars to buy their favorite dog food, shet, some sell out for a kiss and a picshur with the Unpresidented Disgrace, like minority dealer Kevin McCarthy and teddy cruz

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    2. Sir was that was deep. Thanks.

      And ummmmm I'm not Thruther. You see, this is the stupidity that should not be shown. That's a form of bullying. I feel like in this place some good people with different insights have left because people gang up on stupid shit. Everyone is allowed to have their point of view respected. No ifs, ands, or buts.

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    3. Fully agree. Before BB stopped operations due to that lawsuit there were quite a few people who would post alot of insightful info/comments. Alot of these nonsense or unrelated comments wouldn't make it on to the platform. Now insightful comments are rare and these ridiculous and unrelated comments are the norm and majority. BB keeps degrading itself by allowing so many of those comments through. That and the loss of the forum have hurt BB. There's days that I even feel deppressed about this. BB used to be my favored site and go to site by far. Now... It's like my childhood sweetheart and only love who respected herself, carried herself with class, who was solid, loyal, faithful, and honest has now changed. Now she's full of lies, deceitful, is a whore, has no respect for herself or anything else, is a fake and an actor and finds being with multiple men on the same day as normal. She can't be counted on and can't be trusted and will steal anything from family and friends that she can sell or trade for drugs. Who's gonhorrea and the filthyness of what once was a beautifull little muffin but is now what looks like a mistreated lotus flower which at times gives a putrid aroma and which it's rottenness has started showing in her eyes. Heartbreaking.

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    4. 3:40 okay, no panocha for you.
      But you are still free to come and lurk and comment, best of all you don't need to use a lemon on anybody and no ody will use a lemon on you

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  8. Let's be honest, CJNG grew exponentially across MX only if you believe their videos. However, its sphere of influence across the global underworld takes a back seat to CDS.

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    1. And lets not forget the snitching, cds takes the first place by far

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  9. Bola de traicióneros eso nomas saben mencho ya muerto los valencia eran los buenos de ese circo desde el principio hasta k quiso cer jefe tu tía mencha x aki ni en foto entran esos jotos

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  10. Good story. You hit it out the ball park in my eyes. IPA Drinker says it's so so, but what do you expect, he's an IPA drinker. That in itself explains alot.

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    1. @9:39 simon muelon. I'll keep downing these bitter beers while you sip on your fruity drinks with you pinky up

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    2. Went to old Milwaukee to see your mom cuz she’s a natural light. Put my face in her Schlitz

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    3. 3:56 no mames gûey,
      that is full of queso, añejo...

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  11. Man U guys no nothing! Only if u guys knew,these guys are stronger then ever! And guess what,Mencho ain’t dead,believe what u want!

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    1. Mencho died months ago are you a bear, barely waking up to the world, oh yes also Putin invaded Ukraine, also Monkey pox disease is coming all over.

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    2. 8:40 🤣🤣🤣 you must be a trump supporter

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    3. El Gallo sigue vivo madreado casi muerto pero vive.Todos buscan la manera de hacer menos tiempo y allí hasta la familia te traiciona.CDS sigue cooperando con los Gringos pues es la misma D.E.A Mijos.

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    4. Mencho is 50 something he ain’t dead and if he is Cjng kill him for all the stuff he snitch and and now they don’t need him anymore they easily said we can do it for ourselves so if they did cjng killed him and buried him for their own sake don’t trust Jalisco people they wolf with sheep clothing they suck in my opinion

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    5. 3:10 wanna talk about traitors? Just look at cds, they are snitching on each other in usa courts, dont believe me? Just check their records, they are public so you can easily find them, they are the real definition of rats, bigest rats in the game hands down

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  12. They have none of those territories on lock...

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    1. 11:40 They actually have more territories on lock than any other cartel, plz enlight me if im wrong

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    2. Cjng has a *presence* in more states than any other cartel. but Cds level of control is more ingrained than Cjng. Durango, Sinaloa, Sonora. all firmly controled by Cds especially their home state

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    3. 6:53 yea cause theres no gun battles in sonora, shit in veracruz its more controled than sonora, half of sinaloa is beltranes and durango well thats the only plaza they control ok but thats it, cjng has nayarit, colima and jalisco on lock

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    4. Colima and Jalisco???!!!...You must not have been paying attention. Don't know about Nayarit but Colima and Jalisco is not on lock by any cartel. That's why there's so many killings. Sorry to break it to you

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    5. Hey humble guy, theres a lot of killings in every state, tell me a state that is actually safe, if we go by killings have you seen sinaloa, sonora, durango, chihuahua and the bajas? If your gonna cheer for a cartel at least do a little research before you post a comment

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    6. 8:42 forgive humble man. He got beat up by a mob, has not been here in a while. He will get back to normal.

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    7. My bad, im sorry humble i didnt know you got jumped and still have a cancousion 😢, hope you get back to normal really soon, te echo todas mis vendiciones para que te compongas rapido

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    8. Is humble man older???
      What they call it when you forget things? I think he has the Bruce Willis thing syndrome.

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    9. 8:42 The one doing the research is yourself. Read thoroughly and make sure you understand what's being said. The comment said that cjng jas all kinds of states on lock, including Colima & Jalisco. I mention the killings because they're cartel on cartel violence, and is a clear indicator that cjng clearly does not have control of those states. Pay attention and read everything all the way through and do some research instead of assuming you know what you're talking about

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    10. The syndrome is called "I drag 'em cause they hang to thefloor syndrome", and no you can't taste my nuts nor lick'em.

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  13. If you believe el mencho is dead you might as well say el Mayonesa is dead too.. when was the last time he was seen? Come on now.. el mas loco frm los templarios died like 3 times😅

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  14. Los coroneles coming back getback what was theirs 👑 los coronel vieja escuela la corona reyna 👑

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