Mexico has designated a high-ranking military official to head the government’s new security operation in Jalisco, a move inspiring little confidence in the state’s beleaguered police force.
On May 5, Mexico’s Interior Minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, announced Army General Miguel Gustavo Gonzalez Cruz will lead a “coordinated and comprehensive strategy” for recovering peace in Jalisco, reported Animal Politico.
“Operation Jalisco” -- which began on May 1 -- will involve elements from the army, Federal Police, personnel from the Attorney General's Office (PGR), and Mexico’s intelligence agency (CISEN). Gonzalez -- who has experience combating organized crime in the state of Tamaulipas -- is tasked with coordinating these forces, and has been given the objective of “capturing members of criminal groups and holding them accountable before the law.”
The main target of Operation Jalisco is the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG). Osorio Chong said the operation will seek to “cut off its sources of income” and capture its leaders.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Jalisco Cartel
One of these alleged leaders is already in jail. Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez said the Mexican government plans to extradite Abigail Gonzalez Valencia, alias “El Cuini,” to the United States. Valencia, the leader of close CJNG ally “Los Cuinis,” was arrested on February 28 in Puerto Vallarta, and is believed to be the CJNG’s principal financial operator.
The announcement follows a number of brazen CJNG assaults against security forces. The latest came on May 1, when CJNG operatives shot down a military helicopter, engaged in shootouts with security forces, and created roadblocks by setting fire to over 35 vehicles. (See El Informador's map below)
InSight Crime Analysis
Operation Jalisco adds to a list of military interventions by Mexico’s federal government in recent years into states wracked by criminal violence and does not inspire confidence in the abilities and integrity of the state's police.
Jalisco’s efforts to create Special Forces like the so-called “Fuerza Unica” (Single Command) -- a force created in 2014 to combat organized crime -- are also off to a rocky start. Speaking on local radio, members of the Fuerza Unica accused their superiors of collaborating with organized crime by, among other things, ordering the release of suspected cartel members who have been arrested.
Federal intervention may work as a stop-gap, but until the local police are reformed, Jalisco -- and Mexico -- face a long road ahead.