Mexico busts Jalisco cartel kingpin

Mexican security forces announced Jan. 30 the arrest of a top leader of the New Generation drug cartel, based in the western state of Jalisco. Rubén Oseguera González AKA "El Menchito" is said to be second-in-command in the criminal organization led by his father, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes AKA "El Mencho," and is also known as "El Junior." He was arrested in a major operation that involved dozens of army troops in Zapopan, a city in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. There remains a 2 million peso ($150,000) price on the head of El Menchu, and media accounts said he narrowly escaped capture last year. The New Generation group is said to be allied with the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico's most powerful trafficking organization.

The New Generation has been attempting to make inroads into neighboring Michoacán state. Kingpin Servando Gómez Martínez AKA "La Tuta" of Michoacán's reigning Knights Templar cartel has charged that the New Generation is behind the "community police" vigilante movement that has mobilized against the Templarios. Mexico's Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR) also reports that the New Generation has a paramilitary arm, but says it is the Mata Zetas gang—formed to fight the Zetas narco-paramilitary network which the is the Sinaloa Cartel's principal rival on the national stage.

On Jan. 26, the PGR brought charges against 20 agents of the municipal police force of Vista Hermosa, Michoacán, who are accused of kidnapping and trafficking arms for the New Generation. The investigation began with the discovery of 35 clandestine graves in the nearby municipality of La Barca. (BBC News, Jan. 31; Milenio, Jan. 30)

Under the previous two Mexican administrations of the right-wing National Action Party (PAN), there was widespread speculation that the government was protecting the Sinaloa Cartel. In 2012, the former entrenched machine of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) returned to power, but the Sinaloa Cartel's notorious kingpin Joaquin Guzman AKA "El Chapo" remains at large despite a massive price on his head.

Cross-post to Global Ganja Report and High Times