HomeNewsBriefWill Targeting CJNG Finances Help Mexico Break Powerful Crime Group?
BRIEF

Will Targeting CJNG Finances Help Mexico Break Powerful Crime Group?

JALISCO CARTEL / 11 DEC 2018 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Authorities in Mexico are seeking to attack the finances of the country’s most powerful organized crime groups, but questions remain as to whether the incoming administration has the institutional capacity and coordination to do so.

Santiago Nieto, the head of the financial intelligence unit within Mexico’s Finance Ministry (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público - SHCP), said that his office filed a complaint against three businesses and seven people linked to the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG) that have already been blacklisted by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), Reuters reported December 7.

This comes after the Finance Ministry announced on December 5 that it had filed its first complaint with prosecutors to initiate judicial proceedings against organized crime members for money laundering.

SEE ALSO: Jalisco Cartel New Generation Profile

The US Embassy in Mexico said they “welcomed increased collaboration” with authorities in Mexico, according to Reuters. Both countries are offering multimillion-dollar rewards for information leading to the capture of the CJNG’s leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho.” In October 2018, several US agencies announced new “coordinated enforcement efforts” to “target and dismantle” the CJNG.

InSight Crime Analysis

Prosecutors in Mexico under former President Enrique Peña Nieto proved woefully incapable of investigating and prosecuting members of the CJNG -- one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations -- fostering, in part, the group’s rapid rise. It remains to be seen if the administration of newly inaugurated President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be more capable of taking on the group.

While Mexico has the institutional and legal framework to tackle money laundering, a low conviction rate suggests there is a “low degree of effectiveness” in how these cases are handled. This, combined with corruption at the state level, “undermines their capacity to investigate and prosecute serious offenses,” according to a January 2018 evaluation of Mexico’s anti-money laundering measures from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global organization that sets standards for combating money laundering.

In September of this year, for example, El Mencho’s wife, Rosalinda González Valencia -- who allegedly helps handle the CJNG’s finances -- was released on bail just three months after she was arrested on organized crime and money laundering charges.

Complicating matters, tensions also appear to be rising between López Obrador and the judiciary over proposed budget cuts. The president wants to reduce the salaries of prosecutors while asking them to do more. López Obrador called those fighting for their pay “dishonest and insensitive,” adding that they don’t understand the “new reality.”

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

The money laundering prosecutions, however, could have an impact if implemented effectively. The CJNG has already suffered from authorities’ increased attention and is “worse off” than a few years ago, according to Jaime López, a security policy consultant and former Mexican police official.

Indeed, authorities have in recent years arrested several members of the González Valencia family -- who are thought to head Los Cuinis, the CJNG’s money laundering wing. The US Treasury Department has also successfully seized a wide range of the cartel's assets. In addition, internal fighting has caused the CJNG to splinter, effectively jeopardizing its power in key criminal regions.

Prosecutors' ability to track and seize laundered money and other assets is crucial to combating organized crime. Whether authorities in Mexico have the will and ability to do so, López told InSight Crime, remains uncertain. 

“Combating money laundering is notoriously complex," he said, "but the instruments are there, and the capabilities exist."

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

COLOMBIA / 13 APR 2020

Women’s participation in organized crime groups is not uniform. The diverse roles that women play in criminal economies allow us…

ARGENTINA / 5 APR 2017

The former president of Argentina was indicted on charges of leading a money laundering scheme while in office, yet another…

EL SALVADOR / 12 AUG 2016

Prosecutors in El Salvador have filed court documents alleging that MS13 leaders sought to arm an "elite unit" of the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.