Mexico’s Fastest Growing Cartel is the DEA’s Newest Target

The Jalisco New Generation cartel is the new kid on the block in Mexico now that the old Zetas cartel is losing prominence.

A CBS News report noted that the new cartel is “fighting medieval-style battles, complete with fortified redoubts, to expand nationwide, from the outskirts of Mexico City, into the tourist resorts around Cancun, and along the northern border.”

On March 11, 2020, U.S. law enforcement authorities revealed that they arrested hundreds of people in an operation singling out the cartel. According to their announcement, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said that the joint operation, known as Projected Python, produced more than 600 arrests and 350 indictments at the state and federal level.

Nevertheless, the Jalisco cartel continues to flex its muscles by attempting to buy belt-fed M-60 machine guns in the United States and taking down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade, according to law enforcement officials reports.

“It seems like the Jalisco New Generation group is taking over everywhere,” declared a priest in the western city of Apatzingan. “It seems like they allow people to work, and they don’t prey on civilians, they don’t kidnap, they don’t steal vehicles, they just go about their drug business.”

The Jalisco cartel was allegedly responsible for a recent ambush in the state of Michoacán, where gunmen killed 14 state police officers.

Jalisco employs quasi-military tactics, and their gunmen often use military camouflage. In the southern state of Guerrero, they welded thick armor plating to a truck to create a makeshift tank.

The Mexican government has largely ignored using force against the cartels. Recently the foreign relations department announced that the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador “is committed to eliminating inequality and violence by ending the war on drugs … the use of force is no longer the first option.”

With the Sinaloa cartel largely weakened after the arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, now Nemesio Oseguera, “El Mencho” , is the DEA’s most-wanted fugitive. He currently has a $10 million reward on his head.

Two of El Mencho’s children are being held in custody in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges.