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Terrifying footage shows dozens of uniformed gunmen of the Jalisco drug cartel in Mexico

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Terrifying footage shows dozens of uniformed gunmen posing with military-grade weapons near armored pickup trucks emblazoned with the initials of the Jalisco drug cartel in Mexico as the country’s top security officials launch an investigation into the video. 

In what appears to be a show of power, several dozen masked men are heard shouting they are ‘people of Mencho,’ a nickname used by Jalisco New Generation Cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera. 

Almost all of the uniformed men wearing bulletproof vests wield assault rifles, and some appear to have belt-fed machine guns or .50 caliber sniper rifles.

Many of the trucks in a column of about 20 vehicles parked on a dirt road have improvised gun turrets or plate-steel armor welded onto them.

Terrifying footage shows dozens of uniformed gunmen posing with military-grade weapons near armored pickup trucks emblazoned with the initials of the Jalisco drug cartel in Mexico as the country's top security officials launch an investigation into the video

Terrifying footage shows dozens of uniformed gunmen posing with military-grade weapons near armored pickup trucks emblazoned with the initials of the Jalisco drug cartel in Mexico as the country's top security officials launch an investigation into the video

Terrifying footage shows dozens of uniformed gunmen posing with military-grade weapons near armored pickup trucks emblazoned with the initials of the Jalisco drug cartel in Mexico as the country’s top security officials launch an investigation into the video

Almost all of the uniformed men wearing bulletproof vests wield assault rifles, and some appear to have belt-fed machine guns or .50 caliber sniper rifles

Almost all of the uniformed men wearing bulletproof vests wield assault rifles, and some appear to have belt-fed machine guns or .50 caliber sniper rifles

Almost all of the uniformed men wearing bulletproof vests wield assault rifles, and some appear to have belt-fed machine guns or .50 caliber sniper rifles

In what appears to be a show of power, the masked men are heard shouting they are 'people of Mencho,' a nickname used by Jalisco New Generation Cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera (pictured)

In what appears to be a show of power, the masked men are heard shouting they are 'people of Mencho,' a nickname used by Jalisco New Generation Cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera (pictured)

In what appears to be a show of power, the masked men are heard shouting they are ‘people of Mencho,’ a nickname used by Jalisco New Generation Cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera (pictured)

Mexico’s top security official, Alfonso Durazo, wrote Saturday that the video is being analyzed to confirm whether it is authentic and when it was made.

Durazo wrote in his Twitter account that ‘there is no criminal group that has the capacity to successfully defy federal security forces, and much less with this staged event’.

The video was posted on social media sites Thursday, which coincided with President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador’s visit to the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima, some of the cartel’s strongholds.

‘They are sending a clear message… that they basically rule Mexico, not Lopez Obrador,’ said Mike Vigil, a former chief of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

A spokesman for Lopez Obrador’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. López Obrador met Thursday with Jalisco Gov Enrique Alfaro to discuss security issues.

‘In the face of threats, intimidations, we say to Governor Alfaro that he is not alone, that we are with him in facing the challenge of crime,’ López Obrador said.

‘This problem cannot be solved with massacres. It is going to be done more with intelligence than force,’ said López Obrador.

The president defended his policy of avoiding confrontation with the cartels.

He prefers to address social problems like poverty and unemployment that he says contribute to crime.

Many of the trucks in a column of about 20 vehicles parked on a dirt road have improvised gun turrets or plate-steel armor welded onto them

Many of the trucks in a column of about 20 vehicles parked on a dirt road have improvised gun turrets or plate-steel armor welded onto them

Many of the trucks in a column of about 20 vehicles parked on a dirt road have improvised gun turrets or plate-steel armor welded onto them

Mexico's top security official, Alfonso Durazo, wrote Saturday that the video is being analyzed to confirm whether it is authentic and when it was made

Mexico's top security official, Alfonso Durazo, wrote Saturday that the video is being analyzed to confirm whether it is authentic and when it was made

Mexico’s top security official, Alfonso Durazo, wrote Saturday that the video is being analyzed to confirm whether it is authentic and when it was made

The video's release coincided with President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador's visit to Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima. Last week, Lopez Obrador defended his policy of 'hugs, not bullets' as his approach to avoid confrontations with the cartels

The video's release coincided with President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador's visit to Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima. Last week, Lopez Obrador defended his policy of 'hugs, not bullets' as his approach to avoid confrontations with the cartels

The video’s release coincided with President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador’s visit to Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima. Last week, Lopez Obrador defended his policy of ‘hugs, not bullets’ as his approach to avoid confrontations with the cartels

But the strategy, branded by Lopez Obrador as one of ‘hugs, not bullets,’ has emboldened criminal groups, many security analysts say.

The president’s approach ‘has only led these cartels to operate with more impunity,’ Vigil said.

It was unclear when the video had been filmed, but it appeared to be authentic, Vigil said.

The Jalisco cartel is regarded as Mexico’s strongest gang, along with the Sinaloa Cartel formerly led by jailed kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman. 

It is often credited with infiltrating poorly paid and trained police departments across the country to protect its wide-ranging criminal rackets. 

The cartel based in the central state of Jalisco has spread across Mexico and increasingly has posed direct challenges to the government.

Mexico City’s police chief, Omar García Harfuch, blamed the cartel for an elaborately planned attempt on his life last month – an ambush on the capital’s most famous boulevard.

The Jalisco cartel operates in 24 of 32 states in Mexico and has shipped cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl-laced heroin to the United States.

The cartel, is known to be in control of between one-third and two-thirds of the US drug market. 

The Jalisco cartel is regarded as Mexico's strongest gang, along with the Sinaloa Cartel formerly led by jailed kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman

The Jalisco cartel is regarded as Mexico's strongest gang, along with the Sinaloa Cartel formerly led by jailed kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman

The Jalisco cartel is regarded as Mexico’s strongest gang, along with the Sinaloa Cartel formerly led by jailed kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel:  Mexico’s fastest-rising criminal organization

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel has become Mexico’s fastest-rising criminal organization, with a reputation for ruthlessness and violence unlike any since the fall of the old Zetas cartel. 

In parts of the country it 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 across from the US.

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel likes violence and heavy armament. US prosecutors said its operatives tried to buy belt-fed M-60 machine guns in the United States, and once brought down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.

But transnational criminal organization is also mounting a propaganda campaign, using videos and social media to threaten rivals while promising civilians that it won’t prey on them with extortion and kidnappings. 

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel has become Mexico's fastest-rising criminal organization, with a reputation for ruthlessness and violence unlike any since the fall of the old Zetas cartel

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel has become Mexico's fastest-rising criminal organization, with a reputation for ruthlessness and violence unlike any since the fall of the old Zetas cartel

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel has become Mexico’s fastest-rising criminal organization, with a reputation for ruthlessness and violence unlike any since the fall of the old Zetas cartel

It is a promise that cartels in Mexico have long made, and always broken. But the cartel’s onslaught is so powerful that it appears to have convinced some Mexicans, especially those who are tired of local gangs, to accept control by one large, powerful cartel.

The reality of life under the Jalisco cartel is terrifying: the cartel has made the city of Guadalajara and surrounding suburbs into a giant clandestine grave site.

Hundreds of bodies have been found in the last year, dumped in drainage canals, buried in fields and the patios and yards of homes. 

Bodies have been found dissolved in acid or lye and bodies have been found in plastic bags. 

So many bodies have been found in Guadalajara that authorities ran out of space at the morgue and took to moving rotting bodies around in refrigerated trucks until neighbors complained about the smell. 

Experts say the killings skyrocketed after the cartel lost control of its local organization in Guadalajara, and has been battling that splinter group.

Jalisco is accustomed to attacking law enforcement directly. The cartel is blamed for two of the worst attacks in recent memory: in October, cartel gunmen ambushed and killed 14 state police officers in Michoacán, and there are indications they executed some with gunshots to the head. 

Jalisco is accustomed to attacking law enforcement directly. Mexico City police chief Omar García Harfuch (left) was attacked last month and blamed the cartel for an elaborately planned attempt on his life

Jalisco is accustomed to attacking law enforcement directly. Mexico City police chief Omar García Harfuch (left) was attacked last month and blamed the cartel for an elaborately planned attempt on his life

Jalisco is accustomed to attacking law enforcement directly. Mexico City police chief Omar García Harfuch (left) was attacked last month and blamed the cartel for an elaborately planned attempt on his life  

A burned bus (photographed October 16, 2019) sits on the side of road in El Aguaje, Mexico, where Jalisco New Generation Cartel gunmen ambushed and killed Michoacan state police agents

A burned bus (photographed October 16, 2019) sits on the side of road in El Aguaje, Mexico, where Jalisco New Generation Cartel gunmen ambushed and killed Michoacan state police agents

A burned bus (photographed October 16, 2019) sits on the side of road in El Aguaje, Mexico, where Jalisco New Generation Cartel gunmen ambushed and killed Michoacan state police agents

In 2015, cartel gunmen trying to protect their leader shot down a Mexican military helicopter with an RPG. 

Jalisco controls the south bank of the Rio Grande river, while the north bank remains in the hands of the rival New Michoacán Family cartel and its armed wing, the Viagras. 

The cartel has littered the streets of Cancun with the bodies of its victims, but the violence hasn’t really hit the tourist zone, except in the resort of Playa del Carmen, to the south.

While extreme violence is hardly new in Mexico, Jalisco is more fearsome than other cartels, more worrisome than even the notorious Zetas, who left piles of as many as 50 bodies on roads, kidnapped hundreds of people and forced them to fight each other to the death with sledgehammers, and burned their victims alive in gasoline drums.

The Zetas were never particularly good at carving out new drug routes or laundering money; Jalisco, with years of experience in methamphetamine production through their allies, the ‘Cuinis’ gang, is in a prime position to capitalize on new synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

And the cartel has been able to branch out into new regions of the world, turning to India when China cracks down on fentanyl shipments, and establishing connections with Chinese and other Asian gangs to launder drug proceeds that help wealthy Chinese get around their government’s currency flow limits and move their wealth abroad.

Under the command of Nemesio ‘El Mencho’ Oseguera Cervantes – who is now the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted fugitive, with a $10million price on his head – the Jalisco cartel has a more unified leadership than Sinaloa, whose command structure was fractured after the arrest, extradition and conviction of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, who he was once tied to.

Jessica Johana Oseguera

Jessica Johana Oseguera

Rubén 'El Menchito' Oseguera González

Rubén 'El Menchito' Oseguera González

Jessica Johana Oseguera (left) and Rubén ‘El Menchito’ Oseguera González are being held by the US government. Their father, Nemesio ‘El Mencho’ Oseguera Cervantes, is the leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and is wanted by the DEA

Given that Jalisco has moved into hotels and restaurants, shopping centers, real estate companies, agricultural companies, and a music promotion business, experts believe that they are ‘more sophisticated than other [gangs] at laundering money’

El Mencho’s two oldest children are currently under the custody of the US government facing money laundering and drug trafficking charges.

Jessica Johana Oseguera, 33, was arrested last February 26 inside a DC federal courthouse while appearing at a hearing for her brother Rubén ‘El Menchito’ Oseguera, 30, who was extradited from Mexico on February 20 to face drug charges.   

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