Federal authorities have arrested five suspected members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in connection with the kidnapping of five young men from the town of Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, on Aug. 11.
Few details have been released about the operation that led to the capture of the five suspects, other than that it was coordinated by the Defense Ministry (Sedena), the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) and the National Guard.
The detainees have been identified as Isidro “N,” alias “El Chilo”; Luis Antonio “N,” alias “La Morsa”; Eruviel “N,” alias “El Conejo”; José Fernando “N,” alias “Fercho”; and Víctor Armando “N,” alias “El Diablito”. “El Chilo” was the group’s alleged leader.
These men are alleged to make up a CJNG cell known as the Immediate Reaction Elite Criminal Group (GEDRI), which operates in the northern highlands of Jalisco – an area disputed between the CJNG and the Sinaloa Cartel.
The kidnapping of the five friends, aged between 19 and 22, from Lagos de Moreno was a crime that shook Mexico. Days after they vanished, horrifying photos and videos emerged on social media, appearing to show the victims bound, beaten and at least some of them, dead. There is no evidence that any of the youths was involved in organized crime.
Although none of the five has yet been found, it is believed that they were murdered and their bodies incinerated in stone ovens used to make bricks. The charred remains of four people were discovered at a brick factory near Lagos de Moreno a week after the kidnapping, but these were later determined not to be the bodies of the missing youths.
Five previous arrests have been made in the case. In early October, Jalisco authorities detained a man identified as Rogelio “N,” alias “Comandante Roy,” who is accused of ordering the abduction. His exact role in the crime and connection to the five most recent detainees is still under investigation.
In addition to the abduction and likely murder of the five youths, the recent detainees are also accused of carrying out an attack on a military unit in Teocaltiche, in northern Jalisco, on Nov.19, which left three soldiers dead.
The attackers ambushed the soldiers in three armored “monster” trucks, opened fire on them and then fled, blockading the highway with burning vehicles to facilitate their escape.
The suspects are currently held by the FGR, which will determine their legal status in the coming hours. They are likely to face charges of drug trafficking and possession of military weapons, in addition to kidnapping and murder.