Two recently released social media videos reveal the forced interrogations by heavily armed cartel gunmen in Central Mexico. The videos show the acts of terror associated with a bitter cartel turf war between rival criminal gangs in the area.
Two separate videos posted on social media show different semi-nude men with their hands and feet bound. Authorities later found the murdered bodies of both men hanging from overpasses in Villagrán, Guanajuato, on Sunday.
The kidnappings, forced interrogations, and subsequent killings of the two men by the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) sparked fears of escalating violence in the embattled central Mexican state of Guanajuato.
The cartel uses some of the proceeds from the theft of fuel to bribe politicians, law enforcement officers, and military personnel who allow them to operate in the region with little resistance. The rapid expansion by the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias, “El Mencho,” led to record-breaking homicides throughout Mexico as the group challenged Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima in its quest to conquer new territory.
In one video, “El Michoacano” is questioned by a lone interrogator with ten heavily armed gunmen dressed in military-style camouflage outfits. The gunmen’s faces are covered and the letters “CJNG” appear on their uniforms.
— La Voz Del Pueblo (Oficial) (@LPueblo2) August 5, 2019
The interrogator forces “El Michoacano,” to admit to being the plaza boss in Valle de Santiago. He then issues a warning to “El Marro,” presumed corrupt police, politicians, and a judge. He issues a threat that they have 24 hours to resign or be killed, local media outlets reported. An amateur cell phone video released later on social media shows a body believed to be “El Michoacano” hanging from an overpass.
According to local media reports, “El Michoacano” survived a recent attempt on his life when cartel gunmen killed his teenage son and an associate on July 27 in Silao, Guanajuato.
The cartel subjected a second male to similar acts of forced interrogation and murder. Officials identified the man as Antonio Cervantes Hernández, alias “El Tony.” He is reported to be the regional leader of a criminal cell of Grupo Sombra, the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel. “El Tony” took over the organization after it aligned with “El Marro” and Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima. The interrogator also forced “El Tony” to admit to his criminal activities. The cartel interrogated him under similar circumstances to those used against”El Michoacano.” The also reportedly hung “El Tony” from an overpass where authorities later found his body.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.