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Take a look at this convoy, described by a cartel member as a “patrol”, recently filmed in Jalisco, Mexico. Is it a show of force to put local security forces on notice? Conducted as a show of force toward rival narcos? An orchestrated media event? Maybe all the above?
Watch this video. Then we’ll break some things down.
According to Mexico News Daily, the video first appeared on WhatsApp messages and then social media. In it are several dozen CJNG (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, or Jalisco New Generation Cartel) members, most armed with rifles. At least a couple of them are sitting in a vehicle with a crew-served, though it’s hard to tell if the machine gun is mounted or if they’re just propping it on the cab of the truck.
A lot of you reading this have run convoys, conducted mounted patrols in dangerous places, and are pretty savvy when it comes to analyzing things like this. What do you see here?
The CJNG is about 10 years old and exerts significant criminal influence over the Mexican state of Jalisco and its capital, Guadalajara, and are thought to be present in at least seven others, plus the Federal District of Mexico City. They are currently in conflict with the Sinaloa Cartel and a splinter group of their own organization called the Nueva Plaza.
This particular video apparently surfaced a few weeks after Mexican Marines arrested Rosalinda González Valencia, the wife of El Mencho (Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes). Cervantes is the current leader of the CJNG.
That arrest occurred not too long after a series of gunbattles and narcobloqueos across the city, including an attack on a Japanese restaurant where a former state prosecutor was dining with his bodyguards. Narcobloqueos are “field expedient” roadblocks created by setting fire to large vehicles to block the response of security forces. The Jaliscos are the same group that used rifles and either grenade launchers or RPGs (depending on the source you read) to down a Mexican Army EC725 Cougar, kill five police officers in Ocotlan, then to murder the Police Director, and then to ambush a police convoy and kill another 15 LEOs back in 2015.
Violence in large parts Mexico is growing compared to last year, which is saying something given how it was ranked in 2017; there were 2,750 reported homicides in April, a 25% increase over last year. Other areas, particularly some that were under the thumb of the Sinaloa Cartel, have seen a decrease. According to the newspaper El Universal, over 100 public officials have been murdered in Jalisco since 2013, including police chiefs, mayors, and a state tourism secretary. Since December of 2006 over 200,000 people (other estimates put that number at over a quarter million) have been killed in Mexico, with between 40,000 and 50,000 more missing.