Rosalinda González Valencia is much more than just the wife of Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) leader Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes.
Arrested on money laundering charges in Zapopan, Jalisco, on Monday and remanded in preventative custody, González is allegedly the financial chief of the CJNG, managing its money via its financial arm – a gang founded by her brothers and called Los Cuinis.
Nicknamed La Jefa (The Boss), the 58-year-old has a long criminal history that predates her marriage to El Mencho. She is the niece of Armando Valencia, a patriarch known as El Maradona who founded the Milenio Cartel, a formerly powerful criminal organization that was based in Michoacán.
The Valencia family diversified from the avocado business into the trafficking of marijuana and cocaine in the 1970s and ’80s before later adding synthetic drugs to their portfolio. In the 1990s the Milenio Cartel was among the first criminal groups to begin making synthetic drugs in Mexico, according to a report by the newspaper El País. González was allegedly in the thick of the action, managing the significant revenue the cartel was bringing in.
Rosalinda and her siblings – authorities believe she has about 15 brothers and sisters – dedicated themselves to growing the family’s drug business in the 1990s and later worked together in Los Cuinis, El País said.
El Mencho, who worked with the Valencia family in its avocado orchards before joining the Milenio Cartel, formed the CJNG in 2010 with other former Milenio Cartel members.
According to El País, authorities consider the CJNG and Los Cuinis to be opposite sides of the same coin. The Jalisco cartel moves drugs and wages turf wars to extend the organization’s influence, while Los Cuinis manages the revenues brought in by the CJNG. The latter has built a business empire to launder those resources that includes hotels, restaurants and even beauty salons, El País said.
Rosalinda González, who was also arrested in 2018 but released from preventative prison on bail, is far from the first member of her family to fall foul of the law. Her uncle, El Maradona, spent 17 years in Mexican and U.S. prisons before being released from a facility in Kentucky last year.
Several of González’s brothers have also been arrested and spent time in prison, including Abigael González Valencia, former leader of Los Cuinis, who was arrested in Puerto Vallarta in 2015 and remains incarcerated. He is collaborating with federal authorities in the case of the 43 students who disappeared in Guerrero in 2014.
Another brother, José, was extradited to the United States from Brazil last week on drug trafficking charges, while the 31-year-old son of Rosalinda and El Mencho, Rubén “El Menchito” Oseguera González, was extradited to the United States on trafficking charges last year. A Colima-based federal judge who heard a case against Menchito was executed along with his wife in front of their young children in June 2020.
Federal security forces carried out an operation to arrest the couple’s daugher, Laisha, and her partner in Zapopan this week but did not locate them. El Mencho and Rosalinda’s other daughter, Jessica, is in prison in the United States on trafficking charges.
El País said the marriage of Rosalinda and El Mencho – who was detained twice in the United States on drug charges while in his 20s and deported to Mexico on both occasions – brought together the power of two worlds: that of bazookas and that of dollars.
Together they built a criminal organization now considered one of the most powerful – and violent – in the world. Formerly known as Los Mata Zetas (The Zeta Killers) for killing scores of members of that criminal organization, the CJNG is perhaps most notorious for shooting down a military helicopter with a rocket launcher in 2015.
The CJNG, which was allegedly behind the attempted murder of the Mexico City police chief last year, is also notorious for publishing videos in which it shows off its extensive firepower and makes threats against rivals.
While Rosalinda is now behind bars, El Mencho – wanted in both Mexico and the United States – remains at large.
With reports from El País