Cartel leaders are drug trade veterans

El Mencho, leader of the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel, did time for trafficking

The cartel blamed for yesterday’s aggression in the state of Jalisco is headed by a veteran of the drug trade, who even did time in a United States prison.

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Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as El Mencho, leads the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel (CJNG), whose principal activity has been the movement of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States, and more recently Australia.

The CJNG is closely linked with Los Cuinis, a relatively unknown gang until recently, but one that was added three weeks ago — along with the CJNG — to the U.S. list of drug “kingpins,” although its boss, Abigael González Valencia, was arrested by Mexican security forces in February in Puerto Vallarta.

In adding the gangs to the list, the U.S. Treasury Department warned that the CJNG had become a powerful force internationally, with ties to criminal organizations in Europe, Africa and Asia, in addition to South America and the U.S.

The Mexican Attorney General’s office followed the warning with the recognition on April 19 that the cartel had become the country’s most dangerous, with operations in Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Guerrero, Morales, Veracruz and the Federal District.

There was some speculation recently that Los Cuinis boss González Valencia, also known as El Cuini, was in fact leader of the CJNG as well, but his detention appears to have made little difference in the cartel’s strength and organization.

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Regardless, the ties between the two have been strong — the two leaders are either cousins or brothers-in-law.

El Cuini, like El Mencho, has also spent time behind bars in the U.S. He was arrested in May 1996 and charged with manufacturing, possessing and distributing methamphetamine, and released on US $80,000 bail in November of that year. Nine years later he failed to show up in court: he had returned to Mexico and formed his gang.

U.S. court documents obtained by the newspaper Milenio reveal that El Cuini is estimated to have earned $10 million during one 12-month period through his narcotics business in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Australia and Colombia.

His partner El Mencho was convicted of conspiracy to traffic heroin in 1994 in California, served three years and was set free. He too returned to Mexico, where he created the CJNG.

Drugs are one specialty of the two organizations; violence is another.

They have been implicated in the deaths of some mayors and that of the Jalisco Tourism Secretary, Jesús Gallego Alvarez and, more recently, the attack that left 15 state police dead in the Jalisco municipality of San Sebastián del Oeste on April 6.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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