The Rise and Influence of the CJNG: Mexico’s Formidable Cartel

April 25, 2024

The Rise and Influence of the CJNG: Mexico's Formidable Cartel

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The Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) has emerged as one of the most formidable and aggressive drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. Known for their violent tactics and expansive influence, the CJNG's operations have significantly impacted the landscape of organized crime in Mexico and beyond. This article explores the origins, rise to power, and the ruthless strategies employed by the CJNG in its quest for dominance in the drug trafficking world.

Origins and Expansion

The CJNG was officially formed in 2010, following the death of Ignacio Coronel, a key leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, which at the time was the dominant force in Mexican organized crime. The power vacuum left by Coronel's death provided an opportunity for former lieutenants and members of the Milenio Cartel, notably Nemesio Oseguera Ramos, commonly known as "El Mencho," to establish a new organization. Under El Mencho's leadership, the CJNG quickly distinguished itself by taking aggressive actions to seize control over lucrative drug trafficking routes and territories in Mexico.

The cartel's rapid expansion is attributed to its strategic operations and alliances, as well as its willingness to engage in open warfare with rival cartels and security forces. Initially rooted in the state of Jalisco, the CJNG has extended its reach across various Mexican states and has even made inroads into international markets, including the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Power and Influence

Today, the CJNG is considered one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico. Its influence spans most of the country, controlling significant portions of drug trafficking routes and operations. The financial backbone of the cartel comes from the trafficking of a wide range of narcotics, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. The CJNG has also diversified its criminal portfolio to include extortion, kidnapping, local drug sales, and other illegal enterprises.

The cartel's power is bolstered by its vast resources, including the acquisition of high-powered weaponry and the employment of sophisticated communication and surveillance technologies. These assets not only enhance their drug trafficking capabilities but also fortify their combat abilities against rival groups and law enforcement.

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Tactics in Drug Trafficking and Warfare

The CJNG employs a variety of ruthless tactics in both its drug trafficking operations and its conflicts with other cartels. One of their hallmark strategies is the use of extreme violence and public demonstrations of power to instill fear and assert control. This includes the dismemberment of rivals, public hangings, and coordinated attacks against police and military forces.

In terms of drug trafficking, the CJNG has shown remarkable innovation and efficiency. They use advanced logistic strategies, such as the use of drones for surveillance and possibly for transport, tunnels for smuggling, and a network of corrupt officials who facilitate their operations. Their aggressive push into fentanyl and methamphetamine has been particularly profitable, albeit devastating in terms of public health both in Mexico and in the United States.

The cartel's warfare tactics against other cartels often involve guerrilla-like ambushes, the deployment of blockades during turf wars, and the strategic elimination of rivals. Notably, the CJNG has engaged in fierce battles with the Sinaloa Cartel and other local groups as it seeks to expand its territories and influence.


The financial operations of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) are shrouded in secrecy, but estimates suggest that their earnings from the drug trade are staggering, potentially generating billions of dollars annually. This immense revenue stream is primarily fueled by the cartel's significant involvement in the production and trafficking of high-demand narcotics such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and increasingly, fentanyl. The latter has become especially lucrative given its potency and the relatively low cost of production compared to traditional heroin. The CJNG's control over key trafficking routes into the United States, the world’s largest drug market, further amplifies their income, allowing them to fund sophisticated weaponry and expansive operations, solidifying their status as one of the wealthiest and most powerful criminal organizations globally.

The CJNG's rise from a regional player to a dominant force in Mexico's criminal underworld is a testament to its aggressive strategies and adaptability. Its impact on public security in Mexico has been profound, contributing to high levels of violence and instability. With El Mencho still at large, the future activities of the CJNG remain a significant concern for both Mexican authorities and international law enforcement agencies. The ongoing efforts to curb its influence are complicated by the cartel's deep entrenchment in various sectors and its continual adaptation to counter law enforcement tactics.