MEXICO NARCO CJNG CARTEL OFFERS USD$264,665 (MEX$5M) for leader (Francisco Maldonado Bustos, aka: Don José) of the narco Michoacán Family Cartel, DEAD OR ALIVE
Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (aka: El Mencho), leader CJNG
From a plane, on the municipality of San Lucas, flyers were dropped of which the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) announces a reward of five million pesos, for information of the location of Francisco Maldonado Bustos “Don José”, denounced as leader of the Michoacán Family in the state of Guerrero and its limits with Michoacán.
|Founded by||Carlos Rosales Mendoza|
|Founding location||La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico|
Michoacán, Jalisco, Baja California Sur, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Guanajuato, Colima, Mexico City, Morelos, Edomex, Guerrero
California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, people smuggling, money laundering, racketeering extortion, kidnapping, murder, arms trafficking, methamphetamine production, assault, counterfeiting, police impersonation|
Menace of Destruction
Knights Templar Cartel
Rural Defense Force
CJNG offers a reward for “Don José” (“dead or alive”) and 500 thousand pesos for “Charo” “Cirilo “And” Chico “, or as they put it, ” brothers of this rat “.
The leaflets have the photo of the alleged criminal leader and at the bottom are the acronyms of the Jalisco Cartel, as well as the National Shield and the acronym of the Attorney General’s Office.
In the leaflets it is accused that “Don José” having betrayed Guillermo Abeja “El Güero” and Francisco Vargas “Paquito”, in addition to breaking agreements with the Jalisco Cartel.
Guillermo and / or Gregorio “El Güero” Abeja was an operator in the region between Guerrero and Michoacán, of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, leader of the Gulf Cartel who was extradited to the United States in 2007. He settled in Huetamo and San Lucas and was close Servando Gómez Martínez, “La Tuta”, leader of the Knights Templar. Güero Abeja was arrested in August 2013 and sentenced to 32 years in prison.
Meanwhile, Francisco Vargas “Paquito”, would be Francisco Eleazar Vargas Patiño, aka “Paquito Brother”, arrested in 2015. He was a member of the Knights Templar and close to two of its top leaders and founders, Enrique “Kike” Plancarte Solís and by Nazario Moreno “El Chayo”. It is presumed that he controlled drug trafficking in Apatzingán, in addition to being part of the self-defense groups in that municipality.
According to press reports, Don José’s real name is Rodolfo Maldonado Bustos, and he can be found in Cutzamala de Pinzón, located about 30 minutes from Altamirano.
In 2016, the then PGR offered a reward of 1.5 million pesos for information “for the location, detention or apprehension of (…) Francisco Maldonado Bustos and / or Rodolfo Maldonado Bustos and / or José Pineda Pineda and / or José González Pineda aka ‘Don José’ ”.
A couple of days ago, a video circulated on social networks where the CJNG threatened “Don José”, announcing his arrival in Guerrero with the specific intent of “going for him. Local media said the hitmen arrived in the municipality of Cochoapa El Grande, through a convoy with approximately 50 vans and dozens of men.
PROFILE: Familia Michoacana
At the height of its power, the Familia Michoacana’s brutal tactics, strong base of operations and pseudo-religious ideology made it a formidable operation and a point of fascination for outsiders. However, the group has suffered a series of heavy blows, most notably that of leader Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias “El Chayo,” who was falsely reported killed in 2010 and was later confirmed dead in a shootout in March 2014. The Familia is now thought to have been largely supplanted by a splinter group known as the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), which has also been seriously weakened in recent years.
Michoacan has long been home to drug traffickers and drug production, with areas where mostly poorer farmers cultivate marijuana and poppy, the raw material for heroin. A group known as El Milenio, an ally of the Tijuana Cartel, controlled the Michoacan area at the end of the 1990s. But a small group of lieutenants rebelled. There are two versions of what happened next: in the first, the lieutenants reached out to Gulf Cartel to overthrow their bosses; in the second, the Gulf Cartel sent the Zetas in to take over themselves. In either case, by 2003, the Zetas were the new power in the region.
The former Milenio lieutenants were trained by the Zetas, who were good teachers but bad landlords. The locals saw them as repressive outsiders, and the resentment increased when the Zetas expanded their business into methamphetamine production. The Familia Michoacana then emerged as a self-styled vigilante group, turning against the Zetas and attacking addicts and dealers of methamphetamine, the drug that is now its biggest moneymaker. The group successfully drove the Zetas from Michoacan and expanded into other states, including Guerrero, Morelos, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Jalisco and Mexico City.
The Zetas’ influence upon the Familia — as well as its splinter group, the Knights Templar — is still visible, even though it became a mortal enemy of the groups. Like the Zetas, the Familia and their heirs make frequent use of billboard-style messages to communicate with the public, and dramatic violence, the most infamous incident being the dumping of five heads on a dance floor in 2006, the official announcement of the Familia’s existence. The Zetas have responded with propaganda comparing the Familia to “radical Islamists,” driven “crazy by ice” (methamphetamine).
The Familia was proudly regionalist and claimed to have won public support in western Michoacan, where in some ways the group, at its peak, acted as the de facto state. It would resolve local disputes, provide employment, and do social work. At times employing the language of political insurgency or of an evangelical crusade, the group won hundreds of recruits in just a few years.
When the Familia was at the height of its power, it was one of the most potent, bloody and powerful of Mexico’s criminal organizations, whose activities ranged from drug trafficking and kidnapping to extortion and racketeering. The Familia had international contacts for methamphetamine distribution, including in Holland, India, China and Bulgaria. Criminal groups based in the US, including in major cities like Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta, conspired directly with the Familia for cocaine shipments, a development which surprised investigators, considering the group’s distance from the U.S. border.
Proximity to the major port city Lazaro Cardenas gave the Familia access to cocaine shipments from Colombia and precursor chemicals for methamphetamine production from Asia. But the struggle to control the port has proved deadly, and an estimated 1,500 people have died there in relation to disputes with the Familia. Besides drug trafficking, extortion schemes provided the Familia with a reliable source of funds, and, at one point, an estimated 85 percent of licit businesses in Michoacan·were thought to make regular payments to the group.
Leader Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias “El Chayo” or “El Mas Loco,” was reported killed in a shootout with police in December 2010 in Apatzingan, Michoacan. In January 2011, following the alleged death of the leader, the Familia announced its intention to “completely dissolve.” It declared (in the group’s typical pious tone) that it sought to end the suffering of the people of Michoacan at the hands of the Federal Police.
However, the report of El Chayo‘s death would later prove to be false, as was rumored for years. On March 9, 2014, government officials confirmed the former Familia leader, who was thought to have subsequently worked on behalf of the Knights, had just been killed in a shootout with security forces in Tumbiscatio, Michoacan. They said fingerprint tests had proven his identity.
It seems that Moreno’s supposed “death” triggered a split between two rival bosses in the group, with Jose de Jesus Mendez, alias “El Chango,” allying with La Resistencia. Meanwhile Servando Gomez, alias “La Tuta,” formed the Knights Templar, which announced its emergence onto the scene in March 2011 via public banners that said it was replacing the Familia.
Indeed, the Knights Templar appear to have won handily against their erstwhile colleagues in the Familia. Mendez, leader of what remained of the Familia, was arrested in June 2011, and told authorities he had been forming an alliance with the hated Zetas — a move which suggests he was desperate for help against the Knights. In November 2011, it was reported that the government considered the Familia to be all but extinct, with the Knights taking over much of their operations and networks.
Currently, Hector Garcia, alias “El Player,” is believed to control the Familia Michoacana operations in Guerrero and the state of Mexico, although it is unclear how much power the criminal group currently posesses.
The Familia Michoacana was previously led by Jose de Jesus Mendez, alias “El Chango,” who became the head of the old guard when the Knights Templar splintered off in 2011. El Chango was arrested in June of that year, however, and by November authorities reportedly considered the Familia to be virtually defunct.
Even before the group’s split , there were thought to be up to three internal factions within the Familia, all juggling partnerships with various cartels — one reportedly linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, another linked to the Gulf, and yet another with the Beltran Leyva Organization. Other inner divisions were present within the executive council, which was formerly headed by Moreno.
Each regional cell reportedly enjoyed a degree of autonomy. While one branch would be dedicated to methamphetamine production, another would extract extortion payments, while another would be made up of hitmen, and so on.
As the Familia Michoacana’s name indicates, the group had its base and origins in Michoacan, in particular the mountainous Sierra Madre del Sur. The Familia’s powerbase was located in the seven municipalities that make up “Tierra Caliente” in southwest Michoacan, about 600 miles from the U.S. border.
The Familia also established cells in the states of Guerrero, Morelos, Guanajuato, Colima, Queretaro, Jalisco and Mexico City. With the decline of the Familia have come reports that the group has retrenched in Guanajuato and Mexico State.
Allies and Enemies
After working with the Zetas to overthrow the traditional Michoacan trafficking family, the Valencias, the Familia announced it was working on its own by tossing several severed heads into a nightclub in 2006, an incident that made international news. It later allied with the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels to fight its progenitors, the Zetas, and to expand into new territory along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Familia also had an infamous ability to corrupt local government officials, in part due to massive profits from methamphetamine production. It enjoyed deep regional loyalties, thanks to social projects like building schools, roads, providing employment through the drug trade, and essentially fulfilling the police’s role in resolving domestic disputes.
In the early 2010s, the Familia would become involved in a bitter conflict with successor group the Knights Templar.
In 2011, authorities considered the Familia Michoacana to be essentially extinct. However, a police raid in May 2014 of a Familia Michoacana cell operating in Guerrero suggests the criminal group may be looking to gain power once again in the country’s southwest following the weakening of the Knights Templar.
PROFILE: Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG)
The Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG) is a criminal group that has evolved as a result of killings, captures and rifts in older cartels. It is known for its aggressive use of violence and its public relations campaigns. Despite the capture of top leaders and some emerging signs of internal division, the group appears set to continue expanding.
The CJNG emerged after former Sinaloa Cartel capo Ignacio Coronel, alias “Nacho,” was killed by Mexican security forces in July 2010. Prior to his death, Coronel gave orders to Óscar Orlando Nava Valencia, alias “El Lobo,” the leader of the Milenio Cartel. This criminal group moved drug shipments and managed finances for the Sinaloa Cartel, operating primarily in the states of Jalisco and Colima, and later extending into Michoacán and Mexico City.
By the time of Nacho Coronel’s death, El Lobo had been captured and the Milenio Cartel had suffered internal divisions, splitting into two factions: “La Resistencia” and another faction referred to as the “Torcidos” (“The Twisted Ones”), because La Resistencia accused them of giving up El Lobo to the authorities.
In the power vacuum that followed Nacho’s death, these two groups fought for control of drug trafficking in Jalisco. The Torcidos became what is now the CJNG, emerging as the successors to the Sinaloan capo’s network in the region.
Nemesio Oseguera Ramos, alias “El Mencho,” is considered the leader and founder of the CJNG, and his original top operators were Erick Valencia, alias “El 85,” and Martin Arzola Ortega, alias “El 53.” All of these men were former Milenio Cartel members.
The group has been associated with the use of extreme violence. In the period following the emergence of the CJNG, homicides spiked in Jalisco. The cartel also made it one of its early missions to battle the Zetas drug trafficking organization in Veracruz state, under the name “Matazetas,” or “Zetas Killers,” which, depending on the source, is described as either another name for the CJNG or a special cell of the group responsible for assassinations. The group claimed authorship of a 2011 massacre of 35 people in Veracruz, and a month later security forces recovered the corpses of another 30-odd apparent victims of the group.
In April 2015, the CJNG killed 15 Mexican police officers during an ambush in Jalisco state, one of the single deadliest attacks on security forces in recent Mexican history. The group was also blamed for an attack in March 2015 that killed five federal police. Additionally, Mexican officials have previously indicated that the group possesses highly sophisticated armament, including machine guns and grenade launchers were used to conduct the March 2015 attack. In May 2015, the group continued its deadly streak, shooting down a military helicopter on May 1 and launching a wave of violence across Jalisco.
The CJNG has also been known to appeal to the Mexican citizenry with idealistic propaganda, invoking solidarity and promising to rid its areas of operation of other crime syndicates, such as the Zetas and the Knights Templar — another sworn enemy.
Since 2013, government officials have claimed on various occasions that the CJNG provided arms to the self-defense forces that purportedly emerged to combat the Knights Templar in the southwest pacific state of Michoacán — a strategic operating point for criminal groups home to a wealth of minerals and a major seaport.
Following the decline of the Knights Templar in Michoacán, the CJNG expanded its presence in areas previously controlled by that group and in some 20 states across the country, leading them to become one of the country’s most dominant organized crime groups.
The CJNG’s assets are thought to be worth over $20 billion.
The CJNG is currently led by Nemesio Oseguera Ramos, alias “El Mencho.” For information leading to his arrest, the US has offered a reward of $10 million, one of the highest bounties ever offered. Mexico has offered its own reward of 30 million pesos ($1.6 million).
The group appears to be growing rapidly. According to authorities, the CJNG operates in at least in 22 states: Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Morelos, Nayarit, Guerrero, and Veracruz, plus Mexico City and the State of Mexico. The cartel also allegedly has contacts in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Central America and the United States, and uses these connections to traffic marijuana, cocaine and synthetic drugs. Recent arrests suggest that the Cuinis, the alleged money laundering arm of the CJNG, may have established operations in Brazil and Uruguay.
Allies and Enemies
The leader of the Cuinis criminal group, Abigael González Valencia, is the brother-in-law of El Mencho. The relationship between the two groups is unclear, though US authorities have described the Cuinis as the financial arm of the CJNG.
Mexican security officials have stated that the group has an alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel. However, there have been rumors of a split since at least mid-2012. More recently, in mid-2014, authorities reported that El Mencho participated in a meeting in Coahuila that also involved the remnants of the Juarez Cartel, the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) and the Zetas. This could indicate that a strategic realignment may be taking place in Mexico’s drug trafficking world, and that the CJNG may be looking to switch sides.
However, the CJNG is also battling a number of rivals. In central Guanajuato state, the group is fighting with the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, led by José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, alias “El Marro.” One series of clashes between the two groups over oil theft left more than 50 people dead in October 2018. The CJNG is also at war with a splinter faction of the Zetas known as the Zeta Old School (Zetas Vieja Escuela), in addition to a splinter faction of the Gulf Cartel known as the Shadow Group (Grupo Sombra). One of the groups longest standing enemies has been the Knights Templar.
The CJNG is also dealing with internal divisions. The Nueva Plaza Cartel, for example, formed in 2017 after splitting from the CJNG over disputes regarding a murder that had been ordered. The Nueva Plaza Cartel has not penetrated Guadalajara — the CJNG’s base of operations — but is exerting control over areas to the west and southeast of the city.
The relationship between the CJNG and a number of self-defense groups in Michoacán remains unclear. In the past, rumors have hinted at the alliances between the CJNG and a number of these vigilante organizations. Furthermore, the CJNG has also allegedly provided high-caliber firearms to many of these groups.
Despite relatively quick growth and consolidation of its areas of influence, the group has suffered some setbacks. In March 2012, Erick Valencia was arrested. (He was released in December 2017 due to alleged irregularities in his prosecution.) In July 2013, soldiers captured Victor Hugo Delgado Renteria, alias “El Tornado,” one of El Mencho’s deputies. In January 2014, El Mencho’s son, Ruben Oseguera González, alias “El Menchito,” was detained by security officials in Jalisco. In April 2014, Federal Police arrested a key member of the CJNG in Jalisco, who allegedly led an operation that aimed to produce and traffic six tons of synthetic drugs. On February 28, 2015, Abigail Gonzalez Valencia, alias “El Cuini,” the leader of close CJNG ally the Cuinis and principal financial operator of the CJNG, was arrested. In March 2015, security forces also reportedly killed the head of the CJNG’s assassin network, Heriberto Acevedo Cárdenas, alias “El Gringo.”
The weakening of the Sinaloa Cartel allowed the CJNG to become the most notorious Mexican cartel. However, in response to the group’s growing strength, in May 2015 the Mexican government initiated “Operation Jalisco,” aimed at restoring security to Jalisco and dismantling the CJNG. An international effort to disrupt the operations of the Cuinis — including arrests of alleged top leaders in April 2016 in Uruguay and December 2017 in Brazil — may also be hurting the CJNG financially.
Since late 2017, the CJNG has begun to display signs of internal divisions, and such splinter groups have challenged the main cartel’s dominance in key areas. The emergence of smaller competing groups is also threatening the CJNG’s control in a couple of criminally strategic regions across Mexico. That said, the CJNG has so far been able to hold on and remain one of the country’s most dominant organized crime groups.
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