HomeNewsBriefIs the Jalisco Cartel Really Mexico's Most Powerful?
BRIEF

Is the Jalisco Cartel Really Mexico's Most Powerful?

JALISCO CARTEL / 13 MAY 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A Spanish newspaper has stated that Mexico's Jalisco Cartel has become the most potent drug cartel in the country, a claim which may have more to do with recent high-profile attacks on security forces than the group's drug trafficking capabilities. 

On May 12, Spanish newspaper El Pais called the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG, for its Spanish initials) Mexico's most dangerous cartel. This pronouncement came one month after the US Treasury Department blacklisted the CJNG and labeled them "among the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.” The Washington Post also recently asked if the CJNG is "becoming the most powerful drug cartel" in the country. 

The CJNG has certainly shown their ability to carry out bold attacks against security forces and sow bedlam in the southwest state of Jalisco, their main base of operations. In April, the CJNG killed 15 police officers in an ambush, the deadliest attack against Mexican security personnel in years. In early May, the CJNG once again gained international headlines by shooting down a military helicopter with a rocket propelled grenade launcher (RPG) and created dozens of roadblocks by torching vehicles throughout Jalisco.

In response to the violence, Jalisco's Attorney General's Office has launched a website that alerts citizens in real time where blockades and confrontations between criminal groups and security forces are taking place. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The CJNG's elevated profile as a result of the recent attacks on security forces may now outmatch their capacity to conduct drug trafficking operations. According to the US Treasury, the CJNG is primarily involved in methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking, and has ties to criminal organizations in the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, and other parts of Latin America. 

SEE ALSO: Profile of the Jalisco Cartel

However, it is unclear if the CJNG, as a relative upstart in Mexico's underworld, has the same international contacts and ability to subvert state institutions as more well-established trafficking groups such as the Sinaloa Cartel. The Sinaloa Cartel reportedly operates in double the number of Mexican states as the CJNG, and has a presence in up to 50 countries around the world, including nearly every major city in the Western Hemisphere. 

Perhaps more importantly, the Sinaloa Cartel prefers to do business by making alliances with other cartels and establishing connections with Mexico's political and economic elite. In Mexico, this strategy has proven more successful than the CJNG model of committing sensational acts of violence that draw the ire of security forces. Indeed, Mexican authorities have already launched a security offensive in Jalisco aimed at dismantling the CJNG and capturing its alleged leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias "El Mencho."

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

BRAZIL / 7 OCT 2022

Latin America's environmental and land protectors are routinely murdered by the regions criminals.

JALISCO CARTEL / 14 JAN 2022

Criminal organizations in the state of Michoacán are experimenting with ever-greater firepower as they wage war over hotly contested territory.

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 17 MAY 2021

A boat that capsized off California’s shores carrying some 30 people who paid more than $15,000 each to be shuttled…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…