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How Mexico’s Jalisco Drug Cartel Is Muscling Into U.S. Cities

Mexican police patrol in Jalisco.
Mexican police patrol in Jalisco.

MEXICO CITY — The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or CJNG, has long controlled the drug trade in nine states in Mexico's south and west. But in recent months, the cartel has edged out Mexican and Colombian rivals to conquer the narcotics market in the U.S.

Writing for Mexico City daily El Universal, investigative journalist Laura Sánchez reports that the CJNG infiltrated criminal networks on the West Coast of the U.S. in 2015 before expanding to the East Coast last year. A recent report published by the Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA identified the cartel as "one of the most powerful and fastest growing" since the decline of the once-dominant Sinaloa Cartel in 2010, previously headed by the infamous Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

The CJNG is led by Nemesio Oseguera and Jorge Luis Mendoza, better known by their nicknames "El Mencho" and "La Garra". The gang has wrested control of American city streets in places Atlanta, Georgia, and Gulfport, Mississippi, and it's now aiming to take over Miami — the stronghold of the waning Sinaloa cartel.

While Sinaloa retains about 60% of the market in Miami, the CJNG is cutting into its share by providing purer e-drugs with lower prices and faster deliveries, El Universal reports. As the battle against El Chapo's men raged on last year, the CJNG entirely displaced another Mexican rival — the Beltrán Leyva cartel — to gain control of the drug trade further north in Virginia and South Carolina.

Colombian drug traffickers have long dominated the drug trade in Miami and the southeast since the 1980s, sharing their power in recent years with the Sinaloa cartel. That has changed in the last 12 months when the CJNG cast them out of the region.

El Universal's Sánchezreports that the CJNG expanded from the Pacific to the strategic Mexican cities of Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Juárez on the border with Texas in 2015, enabling it to challenge its competitors further east. According to the DEA report, the cartel now dominates the U.S. market, spreading to 13 cities last year alone.

The cruelty that characterized the cartel's rise to the top in Mexico is being replicated in its push to dominate the U.S. market. There are no signs of that violence abating anytime soon.

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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