‘El Mencho’ Targeting Weakened ‘El Chapo’ in Mexico Drug Battle?

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Authorities in Mexico have confirmed the CJNG drug trafficking group was responsible for the recent kidnapping of the son of the Sinaloa Cartel’s incarcerated leader, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, an indication the CJNG’s top boss may be looking to supplant the fallen kingpin. 

El Chapo’s son, Alfredo Guzman, and six others were kidnapped from an upscale restaurant on August 15 in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. 

Police sources initially told InSight Crime that authorities were investigating the possibility that the kidnapping was related to the ongoing battle between the powerful Sinaloa Cartel and the dominant criminal organization in Puerto Vallarta, the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG). The Attorney General of Jalisco, Eduardo Almaguer, has now confirmed that the kidnapping was carried out by the CJNG, reported Milenio.

The CJNG, which is considered one of the most formidable and aggressive cartels in Mexico, is led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho.” Born in the Tierra Caliente region of the southwest state of Michoacán, El Mencho has been involved in drug trafficking since the 1990s. In 2010, El Mencho founded the CJNG from the remnants of the Milenio Cartel in Jalisco. The group has established a presence in at least eight Mexican states, including the federal district which encapsulates the capital of Mexico City.

InSight Crime Analysis

There have been reports of a conflict developing between CJNG and the Sinaloa Cartel since at least 2015, and with El Chapo’s recapture in January of this year, this kidnapping may be an attempt by El Mencho to target the weakened drug lord. The CJNG has certainly become associated with high-profile acts of aggression and violence; an April 2015 attack by the cartel left 15 Mexican police officers dead, and the following month it shot down a military helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.

El Chapo is not the sole leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, however, and his fate is not necessarily tied to that of his cartel’s. Sinaloa operates more as a federation of drug traffickers than as a hierarchical organization. Other fugitive drug bosses, such as Ismael Zambada Garcia, alias “El Mayo,” remain important figures within the cartel. Indeed, the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug business was barely affected by El Chapo’s prior arrest in 2014. 

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While the kidnapping of his son has filled the Mexican headlines, El Chapo also made news when he was granted a request to return to the maximum-security prison Altiplano. He escaped from Altiplano in 2015 and was initially kept there upon his recapture in January, but in May he was sent to a prison in the border city of Ciudad Juárez.

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