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 Sánchez reports 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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"The Truest Hypocrisy" - The Russia-NATO Clash Seen From Moscow

Russia has decided to cut off relations with the Western military alliance. But Moscow says it was NATO who really wanted the break based on its own internal rationale.

NATO chief Stoltenberg and Russian Foregin Minister Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS via ZUMA
Pavel Tarasenko and Sergei Strokan

MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry's announcement that the country's permanent representation to NATO would be shut down for an indefinite period is a major development. But from Moscow's viewpoint, there was little alternative.

These measures were taken in response to the decision of NATO on Oct. 6 to cut the number of personnel allowed in the Russian mission to the Western alliance by half. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the removal of accreditations was from eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO who were identified as undeclared employees of Russian intelligence." We have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now," Stoltenberg said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called NATO's expulsion of Russian personnel a "ridiculous stunt," and Stoltenberg's words "the truest hypocrisy."

In announcing the complete shutdown in diplomacy between Moscow and NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry added: "The 'Russian threat' is being hyped in strengthen the alliance's internal unity and create the appearance of its 'relevance' in modern geopolitical conditions."

The number of Russian diplomatic missions in Brussels has been reduced twice unilaterally by NATO in 2015 and 2018 - after the alliance's decision of April 1, 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Diplomats' access to the alliance headquarters and communications with its international secretariat was restricted, military contacts have frozen.

Yet the new closure of all diplomatic contacts is a perilous new low. Kommersant sources said that the changes will affect the military liaison mission of the North Atlantic alliance in Moscow, aimed at promoting the expansion of the dialogue between Russia and NATO. However, in recent years there has been no de facto cooperation. And now, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced, the activities of the military liaison mission will be suspended. The accreditation of its personnel will be canceled on November 1.

NATO told RIA Novosti news service on Monday that it regretted Moscow's move. Meanwhile, among Western countries, Germany was the first to respond. "It would complicate the already difficult situation in which we are now and prolong the "ice age," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

"Lavrov said on Monday, commenting on the present and future of relations between Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance, "If this is the case, then we see no great need to continue pretending that any changes will be possible in the foreseeable future because NATO has already announced that such changes are impossible.

The suspension of activities of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the military liaison and information mission in Russia, means that Moscow and Brussels have decided to "draw a final line under the partnership relations of previous decades," explained Andrei Kortunov, director-general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, "These relations began to form in the 1990s, opening channels for cooperation between the sides … but they have continued to steadily deteriorate over recent years."

Kortunov believes the current rupture was promoted by Brussels. "A new strategy for NATO is being prepared, which will be adopted at the next summit of the alliance, and the previous partnership with Russia does not fit into its concept anymore."

The existence and expansion of NATO after the end of the Cold War was the main reason for the destruction of the whole complex of relations between Russia and the West. Today, Russia is paying particular attention to marking red lines related to the further steps of Ukraine's integration into NATO. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously stated this, warning that in response to the alliance's activity in the Ukrainian direction, Moscow would take "active steps" to ensure its security.

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