Four incidents of violence in less than 24 hours in Veracruz have been attributed to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), Mexico’s most powerful and dangerous criminal organization.
The chain of violence began on Thursday night when suspected CJNG members killed a state police officer and wounded two more in a confrontation on the highway between La Tinaja and Cosamaloapan. The criminals also set at least one police car on fire.
After the confrontation, the same cartel members allegedly traveled to the police station in the municipality of Tierra Blanca and launched another attack. No casualties or fatalities were reported.
However, another gun battle yesterday morning between presumed CJNG members and state and Federal Police in the community of Joachín in the same municipality left four gangsters dead.
Three narco-banners appeared yesterday in the metropolitan area of the port city of Veracruz threatening the state police and Public Security Secretary Hugo Gutiérrez.
The secretary said the threats were a response to the state government’s crackdown on organized crime and vowed that operations to “return peace and tranquility to Veracruz” would continue.
Later yesterday, three tractor-trailers and a smaller truck were set alight to form a narco-blockade on the highway between La Tinaja and Córdoba in the municipality of Cuitláhuac. All four vehicles were painted with the CJNG initials, the newspaper Reforma reported.
The blockade began at around 2:30pm but after 5:00pm the Secretariat of Public Security was still warning motorists to avoid the highway.
Since December, Veracruz security forces have been involved in several confrontations with the CJNG in municipalities across the state.
The CJNG, headed by Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, is engaged in criminal activities in several states including Jalisco and Guanajuato, where it is engaged in a bitter turf war with the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, a gang of fuel thieves.
Last year, the cartel is alleged to have committed a range of high-profile crimes including the torture and murder of three students in Guadalajara, an attack on state Labor Secretary Luis Carlos Nájera, also in the Jalisco state capital, and the disappearance of three Italian men in Tecalitlán.
It is also suspected of dumping 19 bags containing human bodies that were discovered in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara this week.
The United States Government is offering a reward of US $10 million for information that leads to the capture of Oseguera Cervantes.
In recent years, the CJNG has expanded its influence to become Mexico’s most dominant cartel, but statistics show that authorities have had only very limited success in arresting and prosecuting its members.