The violence this past weekend in the state of Jalisco, most notable in the capital city of Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, were the actions of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
The CJNG formed in 2010 after federal forces killed Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a leader of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, who at one time controlled the area of Guadalajara.
Since President Peña Nieto took power in 2012, his government has taken down several cartels by capturing and killed many drug lords like Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The government has largely dismantled the cartel of the Knights Templar, who ruled the neighboring state of Michoacan. The government has also broken the Gulf Cartel and its rival Los Zetas, whose turf war plagued the state of Tamaulipas. Fragmented groups of these cartels continue to struggle for dominance in Tamaulipas where gunfights between gangs are common.
The government’s operations against cartels in Mexico have largely been successful. They have destroyed the Sinaloa Cartel, the Knights Templar and the Zetas, but this leads to the birth of some very powerful organizations that bridge the gap of organizations destroyed by the government.
While the government was focusing much of their attention on the larger cartels, CJNG went largely unchecked and was able to organize and emerge as a powerful and aggressive drug cartel, as they have demonstrated over the past several weeks in the state.
In April, alleged members firing grenade launchers and assault rifles killed 15 police officers in the state of Jalisco and wounded five others in an ambush near Puerto Vallarta.
This weekend’s attacks in the state followed the government’s implementation of a new crackdown of cartel activities in the state of Jalisco. Shortly after the government’s “Operation Jalisco” began, the CJNG flexed its muscles by launching attacks in over 20 municipalities in the state of Jalisco. These activities were a demonstration to prove the organization and coverage the CJNG has in the state of Jalisco.
Like many cartels, civilians are not the target of operations for the CJNG. Cartels are typically in operations against other cartels fighting for territory, or with police and military fighting for power. Cartel de Jalisco New Generation claimed responsibility for the killing of 35 suspected members of Los Zetas, whose bodies were dumped in a main avenue of the port of Veracruz in 2011.
The criminal group controls the transport hubs and production of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.
There remains the possibility of further cartel violence in the State of Jalisco if the government continues with “Operation Jalisco”.
Shortly after the attacks on May 1, 2015, President Nieto releases a statement on Twitter that the Federal Government would bring down CJNG and they would suffer the same fate as other cartels, an indication that the government has no intentions of giving up the fight after the latest attacks.
Both the Canadian and US Governments have warned their citizens in Mexico that while things are currently under control, there still remains the chance of more violent activity.