The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) has strongholds across almost all regions of Guanajuato, according to a security analyst based in Mexico’s most violent state.
A “cartel war map” drawn up and published by David Saucedo shows that the only region of Guanajuato where the CJNG doesn’t have a permanent presence is the northeast, which borders both San Luis Potosí and Querétaro.
However, the cartel has made an “offensive movement” into the northeastern municipality of San Luis de la Paz, where the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel (SRLC) has – or had – a stronghold.
Saucedo’s map shows that the CJNG – one of the two most powerful criminal organizations in Mexico – has strongholds in Guanajuato city, León, the state’s largest city, and other important cities, such as Irapuato, Salamanca and San Miguel de Allende.
The newspaper El Universal reported that the Jalisco cartel has made incursions into 10 additional Guanajuato municipalities this year to become the dominant force in 25 of the state’s 46 municipalities. The SRLC – which began as a fuel theft gang but has diversified into other criminal activities – has increased its area of influence from eight municipalities to 16, El Universal said.
The cartel war map, which Saucedo published on Twitter Monday, notes that the CJNG’s “invasion” of Guanajuato began in 2014. It is allied in the state with the Arellano Félix Cartel, according to the security analyst, who describes the partners as “invasion forces.”
Identified as the “allied cartels” are the SRLC, the Unión de León, the Sinaloa Cartel (via an affiliate called Gente Nueva de los Salazar) and the Viagras. The SRLC’s notorious former leader, known as “El Marro,” was captured in August 2020, while his successor, “El Panther,” was arrested last October. Saucedo said on Twitter that the Sinaloa Cartel sent support to the SRLC when El Marro was arrested to stop the CJNG from taking complete control of Guanajuato.
A man known as “El Chago” – identified as the CJNG’s leader in the municipality of San Francisco del Rincón – was arrested in April, but the Jalisco cartel’s head honcho, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, has evaded authorities for years.
Saucedo also identified 16 “combat areas of greater intensity” where higher numbers of violent incidents and/or cartel clashes have occurred. Among the municipalities in that category are León, San Miguel de Allende, Celaya, Irapuato, San Luis de la Paz, Salamanca, Pénjamo and Villagrán.
Saucedo said that cartels are fighting in Guanajuato over the retail drug market as well as trafficking routes to the United States. Another reason for the high levels of violence is the state’s location next to Jalisco, he added. “It’s a natural state for the expansion of the CJNG,” Saucedo wrote on Twitter. He also said that “some National Guard commanders collaborate with criminal groups” in the state.
Guanajuato was the most violent state in Mexico in the first five months of 2022 with 1,292 homicides for an average of 8.5 per day. The Bajío region state has been the most violent in the country in recent years.
President López Obrador acknowledged in early 2020 that the security situation is “complicated” in Guanajuato – the only state where he didn’t win the popular vote in the 2018 presidential election – and asserted that “the situation is something we’re attending to.”
But 2 1/2 years later, Guanajuato – once one of the country’s most peaceful states – remains Mexico’s most murderous entity.
With reports from El Universal