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An armed man hands out provisions in Zapopan, Jalisco. An armed man hands out provisions in Zapopan, Jalisco.

Authorities noticeably hands-off as cartel continues distributing supplies

Gangsters show up in Zapopan with assault rifle in one hand and gifts in the other

Authorities have been noticeably absent or inactive as presumed drug traffickers continue to distribute basic food items and supplies to poor citizens while openly proclaiming their gang affiliations and carrying automatic rifles in several municipalities in Jalisco.

Videos posted to social media during the week showed armed men claiming to belong to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) handing out bags of supplies to grateful residents. In none of the videos are any of the men approached by police or other authorities regarding the open carrying of illegal weapons.

Run by notorious gang leader Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera, the CJNG is one of the most violent criminal organizations in Mexico, wreaking havoc both in and outside of Jalisco in recent years at it moves to expand its territory.

In a video filmed outside the Constitution Cultural Center in Zapopan, the men hand out supplies with one hand while holding assault rifles in the other. One woman doesn’t even bat an eye at the firearms as she gratefully receives her donation. A narco ballad titled Sincerely, El Mencho can be heard playing in the background.

Once out of supplies, the armed men climbed into two vehicles and left the scene without any problems from authorities.

Many social media users denounced the fact that the presumed drug traffickers were allowed to carry out such actions unimpeded while police in Guadalajara and the nearby municipality of Tala were in the streets stopping people for not wearing face masks.

Similar events were recorded in the municipality of Tonalá, where a video captured a police car driving in the background behind a presumed gang member handing out supplies. The police did not stop.

In Tecalitlán, where police are believed to have turned over three Italian citizens to the cartel in 2018, presumed gang members filmed their philanthropic activities with a drone on Wednesday. Long lines of needy citizens were reported in the gang’s stronghold of Tuxpan as well.

“Thank you, Mr. Mencho for the supplies that you gave us here in Tecalitlán,” citizens said in the videos filmed by the presumed gang members.

But the criminal organization has a presence far beyond the Jalisco state lines. Some of the videos that went viral during the week showed CJNG members handing out supplies to people as far away as Guatemala.

Although the Jalisco state government called the incidents “isolated,” they were not the first of such charitable actions by normally violent drug trafficking organizations.

The daughter of notorious Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has been distributing boxes of supplies to needy residents of Guadalajara in the name of her incarcerated father and his criminal organization during the pandemic.

And alleged CJNG members filmed themselves donating supplies to residents of Manzanillo, Colima, last weekend, as well.

When asked about the incidents, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez said that “it’s just what these groups want … to call attention [to themselves] and continue lending importance to these events.”

His administration announced on Friday that a group of Jalisco citizens who now reside in the United States have offered to collaborate with the state government to carry out a donation matching campaign. Alfaro’s government has committed to match every box of supplies donated by the citizens who have emigrated.

Source: El Occidental (sp), La Jornada (sp), Infobae (sp)

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