On Friday, May 1, state police attempting to arrest Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, leader of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel (CJNG), were attacked by an armed group. The authorities initially reported that six soldiers were killed or missing, with another 12 soldiers and policemen wounded.
National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubio confirmed on Monday that six members of the security forces had been killed, stating that the CJNG used a rocket launcher to shoot down a helicopter transporting troops.
Alejandro Rubio also shared his concern over the cartel’s apparent “high firepower.” During the failed capture attempt, the group set fire to at least 15 shops, as well as several gas stations and banks.
The attempted arrest of the CJNG boss comes as part of the authorities’ Jalisco Operation, which aims to dismantle organized criminal groups, and has hitherto arrested 19 individuals.
However, gang violence has meanwhile erupted in the nearby states of Colima, Guanajuato, and Michoacán, which are top priorities in the government’s national security strategy.
“We can’t allow terrorists to destroy the state,” State Attorney General Luis Carlos Nájera told press after Friday’s failed mission, while Alejandro Rubio said operations against the CJNG would be stepped up.
According to David Martínez-Amador, an expert on organized crime and associate analyst with InSight Crime, the CJNG was founded by former members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration have previously linked the CJNG to Los Cuinis, a largely unknown cartel who may nevertheless be one of the richest in the world. CJNG leader El Mencho is brother-in-law to Abigael “El Cuini” González, who was arrested in February.