HomeNewsAnalysisBloody Attack on Police in Mexico Raises Jalisco Cartel's Profile
ANALYSIS

Bloody Attack on Police in Mexico Raises Jalisco Cartel's Profile

EL MENCHO / 8 APR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Mexico's Jalisco Cartel has reportedly killed 15 police officers in the Pacific state of Jalisco, a brazen act of violence that will most likely draw the wrath of security forces and may stem the criminal organization's rapid expansion.

On April 7, Mexican authorities confirmed that the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG, for its Spanish initials) ambushed a police convoy and killed 15 police officers in the state of Jalisco, reported the BBC. Five additional police agents were reportedly injured in the attack, which took place on April 6.

It appears that the attack on police -- the deadliest since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December 2012 -- is the latest installment in an escalating conflict between security forces and the CJNG.

During a press conference, Jalisco's security commissioner, Alejandro Solorio Arechiga, said the ambush was in response to the death of Heriberto Acevedo Cardenas, alias "El Gringo," who was killed during a confrontation with security personnel on March 23, reported Informador. El Gringo allegedly commanded a CJNG cell that operated in the town of Zacoalco de Torres and three other municipalities.

The security commissioner drew similar conclusions for the motive behind the April 6 murder of the police director in Zacoalco de Torres, as well as the March 30 attack the commissioner himself suffered at the hands of the CJNG.

On March 19, members of the CJNG toting assault rifles and grenade launchers murdered five police officers in the town of Ocotlan, reported El Universal. Two civilians and three suspected criminals were also reportedly killed. In total, authorities have attributed the deaths of 21 police officers in just 20 days to the CJNG.

On April 8, two days after the most recent deadly attack, the US Treasury Department designated the CJNG and the cartel's top commander, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias "El Mencho," to its drug "kingpin" list.

InSight Crime Analysis

The high police body count has grabbed international headlines, and will likely bring an unprecedented level of attention from Mexican and US authorities to the CJNG. Prior to the March 19 attack, authorities in Jalisco were unaware of the level of firepower and sophistication the CJNG possess, according to El Universal. This elevated profile is unlikely to bode well for the cartel, considering that the Mexican government has proved efficient at targeting the leadership of criminal groups that commit sensational acts of violence.

In 2011, Mexican troops poured into the northeastern town of San Fernando, near the US-Mexico border, after reports emerged that the Zetas were using sledgehammers to kill innocent bystanders. Just eight months before, in the same area, the Zetas had massacred 72 migrants. By the end of 2012, many of the group's top leaders had been either captured or killed. More recently, in October 2014, Mexican authorities captured one of the top leaders of the criminal group Guerreros Unidos less than one month after the gang allegedly murdered over 40 students, a case that rocked Mexico and gained international notoriety.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Given this track record, El Mencho's days as a fugitive may be numbered. It is possible that this bloody attack will mark the peak of the CJNG's power and influence, before security forces train their focus on the cartel. However, the CJNG's continued expansion despite the arrest of a number of leaders -- including El Mencho's son and second-in-command in January 2014 -- suggests the cartel may yet avoid the fate of the Zetas and other beheaded criminal groups.

Indeed, since its formation in 2010, the CJNG has been characterized by its ability to adapt to adversity. The cartel emerged following the killing of the Sinaloa Cartel's Jalisco boss, Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, who gave orders to the Milenio Cartel, the predecessor to the CJNG. Coronel's death helped spur a split within the Milenio Cartel, and the two warring factions fought for control of drug trafficking routes in Jalisco.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Jalisco Cartel

The CJNG (known as "Los Torcidos" at the time) eventually won, and it has since established a presence in a total of eight states plus the Federal District (Mexico City), according to Mexico's Attorney General's Office. This includes neighboring Michoacan, where the CJNG is looking to take control now that the Knights Templar have been decimated. The fragmentation of Mexican cartels in recent years appears to be enabling the CJNG to gain a stronger foothold in other parts of the country as well.

The CJNG is "the fastest expanding cartel" and could "in the near future overtake the Sinaloa cartel as the most significant organized group in Mexico," Mike Vigil, the former head of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), recently told Global Post.

In many ways, Jalisco state is a strategic base of operations for organized crime groups. It has not attracted the same level of federal attention in recent years as embattled states like Michoacan, but has a history of powerful drug trafficking organizations, including the Guadalajara Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel. This means the infrastructure for criminal economies in Jalisco is already in place, which the CJNG is able to use to its benefit.

Nevertheless, the recent attack on police -- and the furor it provoked -- could put the CJNG's future in serious jeopardy.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

JUDICIAL REFORM / 21 OCT 2014

The corrupting power of Mexican drug traffickers is finding its way into the police forces of the southern United States.

KIDNAPPING / 15 OCT 2013

Details have emerged about how a kidnapping gang formed mostly of police operated in the Mexican tourist city of…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 14 FEB 2020

Despite increasingly coming under fire, a new report says that authorities in Mexico are failing to protect Indigenous human rights…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…