Mexico has captured the alleged second in command of the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG), striking a major blow against the criminal organization and providing a much needed security win for President Enrique Peña Nieto.
On November 18, Mexico's Federal Police Commissioner Enrique Galindo announced agents had captured Ivan Cazarin Molina, also known as Victor Hugo Delgado Renteria, and three others in Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, Jalisco, reported El Espectador.
Cazarin Molina allegedly directed a CJNG cell dedicated to drug distribution, extortion, fuel theft, and murder. His territory included central and western Jalisco state, as well as portions of the eastern state of Veracruz. Galindo stated that Cazarin Molina headquartered his operations in Jalisco's capital city, Guadalajara, where he laundered money earned from his illicit activities.
Federal agents surprised Cazarin Molina and his associates as they drank liquor and played soccer in the streets. Although armed, the suspects were captured without incident. In addition to nine guns, agents found a packet of cocaine, Galindo said.
Cazarin Molina's capture fulfills a major objective of the federal security initiative "Operation Jalisco," launched in May. His arrest was the result of six months of field and intelligence work, Galindo added.
InSight Crime Analysis
For the Jalisco Cartel, Cazarin Molina's capture may represent a strategic blow. Having allegedly controlled a huge expanse of territory, and his apparent importance to the criminal organization's operations, his absence will likely have a detrimental impact on the CJNG's activities.
Moreover, Mexican security forces must be relishing in his capture. In 2015, the CJNG has seen a meteoric rise within Mexico's criminal landscape. (According to a recent DEA report and joint investigation by Animal Politico and El Daily Post, the CNJG is now only rivaled in its expanse by the Sinaloa Cartel.) This rise has been dotted by bold and aggressive moves, such as an ambush of state police and downing of an army helicopter -- the latter of which Cazarin Molina is suspected of participating in -- earning the CJNG the ire of Mexico's security forces. Indeed, shortly after the launch of Operation Jalisco -- an initiative aimed specifically at dismantling the CJNG -- security forces killed 42 alleged CJNG members on a ranch, one of the deadliest drug war confrontations in recent memory.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Jalisco Cartel
Cazarin Molina's capture is also a welcome security success for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose approval rating has been at record lows. In large part, this unpopularity stems from recent security debacles such as the prison escape of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and the government's botched investigation into the disappearance of 43 student protesters.