Mexican Military Arrests Top Cartel Lieutenant Behind Regional Turf War

El Abulon arrest
Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

Authorities in Mexico arrested a top cartel lieutenant whose gunmen have reportedly been waging a fierce turf war to control lucrative port cities. The turf war led to a rash of forced disappearances and mass killings in the western part of Mexico.

This week, Colima’s Governor Indira Vizcaino Silva announced that Mexican Marines and state investigators arrested Carlos Miguel “El Abulon” Meraz Mercado, the current leader of the Mezcales criminal group. The Mezcales is a splinter of Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) that has set its operation in the state of Colima and Michoacan. The faction is engaged in a fierce turf war with CJNG.

The coastal state of Colima is home to the port city of Manzanillo and its numerous tourist resorts. Despite the claims of peace by government officials, Colima has seen a high level of violence due to cartel violence between Los Mezcales and CJNG. This week, Mexican authorities confirmed the discovery of 55 clandestine graves with more than 92 bodies near the city of Tecoman, also in Colima. Authorities believe the bodies are likely individuals kidnapped and killed during the raging cartel violence.

Law enforcement sources consulted by Breitbart Texas revealed that El Abulon’s arrest took place in the rural community of Coahuayana in the state of Michoacan. The cartel lieutenant had taken over Los Mezcales after the August 2022 arrest of his relative and mentor Jose Bernanbe “La Vaca” Brizuela Meraz. The man known as La Vaca broke away from CJNG and started Los Mezcales in 2019, since then they have been identified as the individuals primarily responsible for the violence in Colima.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at     

Jose Luis Lara from Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report. 


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