Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) is estimated to have more than 5,000 operatives working on every continent save Antarctica. The cartel is believed to have amassed a $50 billion fortune and smuggles at least five tons of methamphetamine into the U.S. monthly, according to DEA estimates.
The U.S. Department of Treasury designated the leader of the organization known as Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes aka “El Mencho” as a kingpin in 2015. Under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Act, this denies significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their related businesses, and their operatives’ access to the U.S. financial system and prohibits all trade and transactions with domestic companies.
On October 16, 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a $10 million reward for information leading to El Mencho’s capture.
In 2015, police arrested Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, also known as “Menchito,” in Mexico. Authorities extradited him to the United States in 2020 on drug trafficking and firearms charges.
Within a week, sister Jessica Oseguera-González, 33, known as “La Negra,” was attempting to see her brother at the federal courthouse in Washington when federal agents took her into custody. Both defendants are California-born dual citizens of the U.S. and Mexico.
In May 2018, Mexican Marines arrested Rosalinda González Valencia in Jalisco on charges of organized crime and money laundering. González Valencia is the wife of El Mencho. She is allegedly documented as managing the cartel’s finances and taking on the role as the leader of “Los Cuinis,” after her brother’s arrest years earlier. Los Cuinis, are known for propelling the cartel’s rise to power in a historic short period.
Four months after being incarcerated, a judge freed González Valencia a $1.5 million dollar bond. The judge found there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the organized crime case, leaving only money laundering.
With the rise in demand for fentanyl and methamphetamine in the United States over the past several years, overdoses culminated in 2017 with 70,237 deaths recorded — followed by 67,367 in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These deaths did not go unnoticed by the Trump Administration, who would later hold DEA leadership accountable.
On March 11, 2020, the Justice Department and DEA announced Project Python, a DEA-led interagency operation encompassing all global investigations targeting the cartel. It finalized with six months of unprecedented large-scale arrests of more than 700 CJNG operatives. The operation returned 350 indictments, seized over 15,000 kilograms of methamphetamine, and over $22 million in assets and cash.
Project Python was described as the “single largest strike by U.S. authorities against CJNG, and this is just the beginning,” said former Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. In May, he would be fired after growing scrutiny as methamphetamine seizures eclipsed records in 2019 only to continue rising into the fiscal year of 2020.
In early June, Mexican and U.S. officials targeted the cartel’s money. In what may be the most significant blow to date. Nearly 2,000 men, women, and company assets were frozen, seizing more than $1.1 billion from the CJNG.
The Mexican Finance Ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit said in a statement that they had frozen bank accounts belonging to 1,770 people and 67 companies, including two escrow accounts linked to CJNG.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador later told reporters that “Operation Blue Agave” targeted CJNG for importing bulk amounts of fentanyl into the U.S.
The DOJ has thrown everything it has at this cartel, yet they continue to flourish. They, along with others, continue their global expansion.
In just the last few years, both the U.S. and Mexican governments collaborated to dismantle the CJNG. And yet, the policies of both governments are failing. The sheer size, scope, and catalog of violence this cartel yields across the world are unprecedented for what is still considered to be a “criminal organization.”
Jaeson Jones is a retired Captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division and a Breitbart Texas contributor. While on duty, he managed daily operations for the Texas Rangers Border Security Operations Center.