Located some 600 miles southwest of Brownsville, Texas, lies the capital city of Jalisco in Mexico, Guadalajara. Home to magnificent churches and other artwork and attractions, Guadalajara hosted almost four million visitors in 2018.
Since being founded in 1531, though, Guadalajara has been no stranger to strife and conflict, including physical conflict. The city began with a tumultuous start as it had to be relocated several times within its first decade due to battles with indigenous peoples of the area. In 1810, Guadalajara became the de facto headquarters of the Mexican Independence movement, being occupied by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. The city has been the home of various politicians and others, including a novelist of the Mexican Revolution.
From just a couple of states north of Jalisco in Sinaloa, a man worked himself into the position of being one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world. Filling a void created by the arrest of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, Joaquín Archivado Guzmán Leora, nicknamed “El Chapo,” founded the Sinaloa Cartel and began a complex distribution system with destinations throughout the United States and Europe. Guzmán’s influence was felt throughout Central America and into the United States, with him joining the ranks of others such as Pablo Escobar in influence and wealth.
With Guzmán tried, sentenced, and imprisoned in the United States in 2019, leadership of the cartel was split between Ismael Zambada García and Guzmán’s sons. Despite losing influence, the Sinaloa Cartel was still regarded as Mexico’s most dominant drug cartel as late as 2021. The arrest of Ovidio Guzmán Lopez, one of Guzmán’s sons, in Mexico has put that dominance in question.
This has brought strife back to the state of Jalisco.
Renamed the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, the Los Matas Zetas Cartel, has quickly been spreading its own influence. The group is described as “a semi-militarized Mexican criminal group” and is led by the most-wanted criminal in Mexico. A US$10 million bounty has been offered by the U.S. Government for information leading to the arrest of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, while the Mexican Government is offering MXN$30 million (approximately US$1.59 million).
Cervantes came to notoriety through his “aggressive leadership and sensational acts of violence against both rival criminal groups and Mexican security forces alike.” Contrary to the business-like approach of Guzmán and the Sinaloa Cartel, Cervantes seeks to take control through force and physicality. He developed this through his time with the Milenio Cartel, where he started as an assassin. Through his rise to power, Cervantes became increasingly violent and shocking with his tactics.
Upon taking power of Los Matas Zetas, even prior to the name change to Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Cervantes insisted that those under his direction utilize similar tactics in expanding the cartel’s influence. As one pundit, Peter Zeihan, on the Joe Rogan Show described it, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel uses the tactic of entering a town or city and “shooting it up” to gain control.
This has been seen in Guadalajara where tourists are warned against travel. Similarly, Puerto Vallarta, once a prized vacation spot on the Pacific Ocean, has been the scene of a number of seemingly random shootings and murders, including suspected mass murders, that are intended solely for the intimidation factor.
Jalisco New Generation Cartel already claims territory throughout Mexico and Central and South America, as well as six states in the United States. They stretch as far north as New York and Illinois, and literally from coast to coast, with Georgia and California included in the list. Through the center of the United States, Texas and Aransas round out the six states.
As the United States continues to battle an epidemic of violence among its own citizens and legal residents, Jalisco New Generation Cartel continues to spread its influence and violent tactics toward and over the U.S. southern border.
Previously restricted by the influence of other cartels such as Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation Cartel now finds itself becoming the premier cartel of the region. The influence and power that this brings allows the cartel to expand with minimal resistance. For some, it is the fear of violence that prevents them from countering, for others is the money and bribes that keep security forces at bay.
In any event, experts are predicting that Jalisco New Generation Cartel will continue to bring the heightened violence, which includes gruesome methods, to the United States. If this comes true, then police forces in the United States will be further put to the test. Citizens and residents will become further cowed from public activity and will become even more suspicious of those strange to them.
Further, if these predictions come true, then the body count from violence and the incidents of mass shootings will continue to rise.
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