Mexico’s most powerful gang have declared war on El Chapo’s cartel, claiming their presence in a hotly contested state.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) has expanded rapidly in Mexico in recent years and is mainly active in the west of the country.
Its members routinely commit brutal acts of violence to intimidate their rivals.
Late last month, images surfaced of the CJNG in the northern state of Zacatecas “challenging the Sinaloa cartel,” Infobae reported.
In it, assassins lug automatic rifles and bellows threats from pickup trucks.
When asked if the video was a declaration of war, former US Federal Marshal Robert Almonte told the Daily Star, “Yes, I believe so.
“Although I believe the CJNG had previously declared war on the Sinaloa Cartel and the video confirms their statement.”
In other footage, the CJNG announced their arrival in Michoacan state and vowed to exterminate several other gangs.
Mr. Almonte added: “These videos warn their rivals that they intend to control Michoacan and that they will beat anyone who gets in their way.
“They also justify their actions to the public by stating that the other cartels are kidnappers and blackmailers and that they will defend the people against these other groups.
“This statement is designed to … win the support of the public.”
He continued: “The leaders of the various cartels will react with more violence. The bottom line is that all of these statements and threats will result in more violence.
“The goal of the CJNG is to take full control and eliminate their competition.”
In October, soldiers of the Sinaloa Cartel entered the western Mexican state of Nayarit, dominated by the CJNG.
In disturbing footage, gangsters announced the start of “Operation MZ” and swore “justice,” even threatening local government officials, Nevertheless reported.
The letters MZ refer to Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who has been in charge of the cartel since El Chapo’s extradition and imprisonment last year.
In the video, they refer to Daniel Saucedo – brother-in-law of the state governor – and Rodrigo Benitez Perez, director of ministerial investigation of the Nayarit prosecutor’s office.
The gunmen warned that their “heads will roll”.
While the Sinaloa Cartel remains enormously powerful, the CJNG now has a presence in at least 35 states in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
In July, authorities estimated that the gang – led by former Chapo ally Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes – controlled one-third of all drugs shipped from Mexico to the US.
Its products have also been sold in Europe and Asia.
Dr. Robert J. Bunker, Director of Research & Analysis, C / O Futures, previously told the Daily Star that the CJNG is now a “greater force” than the Sinaloa Cartel.