The United States seeks to suffocate the support network of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and this Thursday has taken another step in its attempt to weaken the network of the most powerful criminal organization in Mexico. The Treasury Department has included in its sanctioned list a police chief from Jalisco, the state where the drug trafficking group has its base of operations, and five members of its structure. The DEA attributes to the CJNG, the main rival of the Sinaloa cartel, the trafficking of a “significant proportion of the fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States.” Between October 2020 and October 2021, the neighboring country recorded some 105,000 overdose deaths, of which more than 70% were due to the use of this synthetic opioid.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC, for its acronym in English), in collaboration with the Government of Mexico and the US drug enforcement agency, has blocked the assets of a new group of those involved in the cartel’s activities. The organization’s growth has two explanations, according to Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson: violence and corruption. “These two forces have fueled the cartel’s territorial expansion, thereby giving it a greater ability to traffic deadly drugs into the United States. Meanwhile, the support networks help the escaped leaders of the CJNG to remain hidden and evade justice, ”he said in a statement.
One of those sanctioned belongs to that corrupt network of public servants that paves the way for criminal groups. He is the police chief of Ameca, a municipality of almost 40,000 inhabitants, head of the Valles region, located between Guadalajara and the coast. Severo Flores Mendoza is also the coordinator of the police officers of 14 localities. He has held other positions in the Jalisco public security forces and continued his career despite failing the trust control exam in 2014. He is, in short, a corrupt agent accused of “providing police information to the CJNG in exchange for bribes.” , according to the United States.
The Treasury Department has also sanctioned Julio César Montero Pinzón, a member of a cartel cell that operates in Puerto Vallarta dedicated to “orchestrating the assassinations of rivals and politicians.” Montero Pinzón is also a partner of two other criminals: Carlos Andrés Rivera Varela, known as The Firm, and Francisco Javier Gudino Haro, The hen, already in the sights of the US Administration. The coastal area of Vallarta is considered by the authorities “a strategic stronghold of the CJNG, not only for it but also for money laundering and extortion.”
Precisely there, in the midst of a confrontation with the military at the end of April, Saúl Alejandro Rincón Godoy, alias The Chop. This capo of the organization was linked, according to the investigation, to the murder of former Governor Aristóteles Sandoval in 2020. He also headed a support network for Rubén Oseguera Cervantes, The Menche, maximum leader of the cartel, for whose capture Washington offers a reward of 10 million dollars. That network includes Rincón Godoy’s mother (Esther Godoy Arellano), two brothers (Angelberto and Julio Efraín) and a brother-in-law (Moisés González Anguiano), recently detained in Mexico and described by federal authorities as a “generator of violence.”
In recent months, the Joe Biden administration has shown signs of concern about the security crisis in Mexico, deepened by a new war between drug trafficking groups for control of routes to the United States. At the same time, the Mexican government remains faithful to the philosophy of the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has adopted a strategy that seeks to reduce large operations, betting instead on the development of the territory. Apart from the motto “hugs, not bullets”, that premise is also behind the new bilateral security agreement, baptized as the Bicentennial Understanding. The plan, which replaces the Mérida Initiative, is intended to support the communities most affected by drug trafficking with social programs to offer alternatives to organized crime. In other words, if your goal is ambitious, its effects will be felt, in the best of cases, in the long term.
Meanwhile, the two countries continue to collaborate to hit the finances of the CJNG. The Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Treasury Department said in a statement, has also included several companies and individuals linked to the CJNG and its close ally, the Los Cuinis drug trafficking organization, on its list of suspects for money laundering. . “The activities already sanctioned in Mexico include shopping malls, real estate companies, agricultural companies, a music production company and a luxury boutique hotel.”
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