The Jalisco New Generation Cartel has become one of Mexico’s most feared cartels, using brutal violence to assert itself across the country.
In the past, its members have downed an army helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade, killed dozens of state officials, and hanged the bodies of victims from bridges to intimidate rivals.
Many of the gangsters have undergone military training, and leader El Mencho relies on several elite cells, Infobae reports.
One of them, known as the Delta Group, has been linked to a series of high-profile crimes, including the attempted assassination of Luis Carlos Najera.
The politician, former security secretary in the state of Jalisco, was ambushed by gunmen while leaving a restaurant in 2018.
He suffered a minor injury, and four other casualties were reported.
Last November, real estate businessman Felipe Tome Velazquez was shot dead in the state of Nayarit by six hooded gunmen.
His body was dumped on a motorway by the killers, allegedly linked to the Delta Group.
Another group of enforcers, known as Los Cabos, operate in the northern state of Baja California.
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The US Attorney’s Office has accused them of employing “rampant violence to ensure that CJNG maintained the ability to traffic drugs through Tijuana, Mexico, and into the United States”.
In a seven-month period, the group was accused of planning more than 150 murders.
In November 2018, three teenagers were tortured and killed in a brutal Tijuana slaying by alleged cartel members – including two children from the US.
Los Cabos have also been accused of killing at least three police officers in the city.
Four of its alleged leaders – Edgar Herrera Pardo, Carlos Lorenzo Hinojosa Guerrero, Edgar Perez Villa and Israel Alejandro Vazquez-Vazquez have been indicted in San Diego on drug trafficking charges.
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Another cell, the Elite Group, is led by Juan Carlos Gonzalez.
Its members have a presence in Michoacan, Guanajuato and Zacatecas.
Former US federal marshal and cartel expert Robert Almonte has tipped Gonzalez to take Mencho’s place in the near future.
He earlier told the Daily Star: “The CJNG, in my opinion, has become the most dangerous Mexican cartel. Nothing is off-limits to them.
“By forming the elite group, the CJNG has become better equipped with tactical gear, weapons and armoured vehicles.
“Gonzalez has made the enforcement group of the CJNG more well trained and organised."
Last July, dozens of armed Elite Group members shouted Mencho’s name and showed off military-grade weapons along with armoured pickup trucks in propaganda footage.
Almonte added: “When you see the video of them doing a shout out to El Mencho on his birthday, they look like a very well organized and equipped military group.
“This has made it possible for the CJNG to engage in battles with their rivals and to expand their areas of control.”
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