A body tightly wrapped in plastic bags and left on a park bench in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, on Thursday is believed to be that of a criminal gang leader who split from the powerful Jalisco New General Cartel (CJNG) in 2017.
The body was dumped in Jardín Hidalgo, a leafy public square in the center of Tlaquepaque, a municipality that is part of the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
One of two signs, held in place by knives stabbed into the corpse, identified the man as “the traitor El Cholo,” nickname of Carlos Enrique Sánchez Martínez, presumed leader of the Nueva Plaza Cartel.
Vice World News reported that Sánchez was a former top lieutenant of the CJNG but broke from that organization around 2017 to create the Nueva Plaza. The two gangs and other criminal groups are involved in a turf war in Guadalajara for control of the methamphetamine industry, Vice said.
Before the body’s discovery, a video surfaced on social media of Sánchez seated in front of six heavily armed masked men who are believed to be members of the CJNG.
In the video, a handcuffed Sánchez claimed to be collaborating with Mexico City Police Chief Omar Harfuch García, who was wounded in an attack in the capital last June that was allegedly perpetrated by CJNG gunmen.
García denied the claim in a Twitter post, saying he would not be distracted by “false messages” of criminals.
Sánchez – possibly reading remarks scripted by the CJNG – also claimed he had the support of two police commanders in Guadalajara. Both commanders were stood down on Thursday pending an investigation.
In addition, El Cholo assumed responsibility for hidden graves in the municipalities of Tonalá, Tlaquepaque, Tlajomulco and Zapopan, attacking the United States Consulate in Guadalajara in 2018 and ordering a shooting in Tonalá on February 27 that left 11 people dead.
Referring to the video, Jalisco Attorney General Gerardo Octavio Solís Gómez said: “This material confirms the existence of an orchestrated strategy to destabilize the state by an organized crime group.”
He also said that “everything indicates that it’s … Carlos Sánchez Martínez, nicknamed El Cholo.”
Solís said the video could be used as evidence for the crimes to which Sánchez confessed. The attorney general said that some of the characteristics of the body found in Tlaquepaque matched those of Sánchez but stressed that the corpse had not been formally identified.