Founded in 2009, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) is a Mexican criminal organization based in Jalisco, to the east of Mexico City.
The cartel is headed by Nemesio ‘El Mencho’ Oseguera Cervantes, one of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lords.
The clan is currently at war with a number of other powerful drug cartels for control of various Mexican states.
Their criminal activities involve drug, arms and human trafficking, as well as murder, torture and extortion.
The CJNG are currently considered the second most powerful cartel in Mexico, trailing behind Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel.
In 2019, a bill was introduced in the US to designate the CJNG, among other criminal gangs, as foreign terrorist organizations.
Though President Trump agreed with the sentiment, he is holding off of the move at the request of the Mexican president.
They have has become Mexico’s fastest-rising criminal organization, with a reputation for ruthlessness and violence unlike any since the fall of the old Zetas cartel.
In parts of the country it is fighting medieval-style battles, complete with fortified redoubts, to expand nationwide, from the outskirts of Mexico City, into the tourist resorts around Cancún, and along the northern border across from the United States.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel has a presence in 24 of 32 states in Mexico and has shipped cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl-laced heroin to the United States
A burned bus (photographed October 16, 2019) sits on the side of road in El Aguaje, Mexico, where Jalisco New Generation Cartel gunmen ambushed and killed Michoacán state police agents
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel so likes violence and heavy armament that U.S. prosecutors said its operatives tried to buy belt-fed M-60 machine guns in the United States, and once brought down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.
But the transnational criminal organization is also mounting a propaganda campaign, using videos and social media to threaten rivals while promising civilians that it won’t prey on them with extortion and kidnappings.
It is a promise that cartels in Mexico have long made, and always broken. But the cartel’s onslaught is so powerful that it appears to have convinced some Mexicans, especially those who are tired of local gangs, to accept control by one large, powerful cartel.
‘It seems like the Jalisco New Generation group is taking over everywhere,’ said a priest in the western city of Apatzingan. ‘It seems like they allow people to work, and they don’t prey on civilians, they don’t kidnap, they don’t steal vehicles, they just go about their drug business.’
The priest, who is not being identified to prevent reprisals, would rather not have any gang in town. But one of his parishioners was recently kidnapped, raped and killed by members of a local gang, the Viagras, even after her family paid a ransom; locals are so sick of that gang they’d rather have anybody else move in.
He is not the only one. A restaurant owner in the central state of Guanajuato – where Jalisco is fighting for control with the local Santa Rosa de Lima gang – says he would prefer that Jalisco take over, because of the local gang’s chaotic ways.
‘Things are quieter when Jalisco is around,’ said the restaurant owner, who also asked his name not be used.
A woman who has lived for years under Jalisco cartel rule in a small town says she seeks out local Jalisco enforcers to solve common crime problems. ‘If you have a problem, you go to them. They solve it quickly,’ she said.
It is all a lie, albeit one that the cartel likes to repeat.
‘Beautiful people, continue your routine,’ the cartel said in a banner hung from an overpass in 2019 to reassure residents of Apatzingan, Michoacán, that the cartel was moving in to kick out the Viagras. Beneath and around the banner a total of 19 corpses hung from ropes, lay piled on the roadway or were scattered, hacked to pieces.