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Is Mexico’s Counter-Drug Strategy Focused on Families Effective?

With the arrest of a top cartel leader’s brother, Mexican authorities are again resorting to an often ineffective strategy of targeting family members to weaken major drug trafficking organizations. The […]

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Mexican authorities have arrested the brother of a top cartel leader, continuing a strategy of targeting family members to weaken major drug trafficking organizations, which is often not very successful.

On April 22, the Mexican military arrested Abraham Oseguera in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, suspecting him of money laundering and drug trafficking, according to Mexico’s Defense Ministry (SEDEA). Oseguera is the brother of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” the leader of the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG) and one of the most-wanted criminals in the United States. according In the days following his arrest, the Attorney General’s Office stated that Oseguera is being accused of drug trafficking offenses and weapons possession.

According to US records, Oseguera had served time in California in the mid-1990s for trafficking heroin before being released and deported back to Mexico. charged He has been arrested before for drug-related charges in the US.

Another of El Mencho’s siblings, Antonio Oseguera, also known as “El Tony Montana,” was arrested in Guadalajara in December 2022 on money laundering and other charges related to the CJNG’s drug trafficking activities. He has been taken to the United States.

Antonio Oseguera had previously served time in the US on drug charges dating back to the late 1990s. charged Other family members in custody include El Mencho’s son, Rubén Oseguera González, also known as “El Menchito.” He was captured in a military operation in Guadalajara in January 2014, released, recaptured in July of the same year, and El Mencho’s daughter, Jessica Oseguera González, was arrested in the US in February 2020 when she came to see her brother’s court appearance. She was

released from custody in April 2022. El Mencho’s wife, Rosalinda González Valencia, was detained in Mexico on money laundering charges in November 2021. She extradited to the US.

Chiapas Bleeds as CJNG, Sinaloa Cartel Fight for Guatemala Trafficking Routes

had a significant role in the drug trade before meeting El Mencho, according to VICE News. She was sentenced to five years in prison last year, but her case released might now be falling apart, leading to speculation about her potential release.

In total, almost five of El Mencho’s close relatives are in custody. arrested InSight Crime Analysis Abraham Oseguera’s detention, the most recent event affecting El Mencho’s immediate family, seems to be part of a popular but often ineffective strategy used by governments to disrupt large, family-based drug trafficking organizations by targeting relatives of those in charge. There is little proof that dismantling organizations in this way significantly affects their overall operations. It also contradicts negotiations in which law enforcement officials agree to not prosecute relatives of drug traffickers in exchange for their assistance in criminal investigations. In addition to El Mencho’s family, Mexican and US authorities have pursued relatives of the Sinaloa Cartel’s leader, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as “El Chapo,” after his conviction and life sentence in 2019.That effort has involved the imprisonment of Sinaloa Cartel operator and Guzmán’s wife,

Emma Coronel

, who admitted to drug trafficking charges in the US in June 2021.

Authorities are also aggressively pursuing El Chapo’s four sons, collectively known as

Los Chapitos

, who inherited a significant faction of the Sinaloa Cartel after their father’s downfall. One of the sons, Ovidio Guzmán, was

at the beginning of last year and quickly sent to the US. However, despite El Chapo’s extradition and the subsequent pursuit and arrest of one of his sons causing violence to spread throughout the state, the long-term impact on the Sinaloa Cartel as a whole has been minimal.  It continues to be one of the most powerful criminal networks in the world,to the US Government.

Likewise, the recent arrest of El Mencho’s brother is unlikely to weaken the CJNG’s rapid expansion throughout Mexico, which has a in almost every Mexican state. Together, the Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG control the transportation of cocaine and synthetic drugs to the US market.While often family-based, modern drug trafficking organizations are now structured more like franchises than corporations and are well-equipped to handle the leadership challenges resulting from the arrests of close relatives. Many of their cells operate relatively locally and independently of each other, which protects them from the loss of top leaders and also facilitates territorial expansion. captured Regarding the latest Oseguera arrest, Alberto Islas, a security analyst and founder of consultancy firm Global Leading Solutions, said it represents a significant, but temporary local setback for the CJNG, and will compel them to reorganize their agreements there.

After Arrests, Extraditions, and Infighting, What Does the Future Hold for Mexico’s Chapitos?

“It hinders the organization, temporarily, and hits them financially. But the effect is temporary and they recover or find another way,” Islas told InSight Crime according Governments across the region have largely failed to change their approach to anti-narcotics even when faced with a lack of tangible results.

In Colombia, for instance, the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces (Autodefensas Gaitainists de Colombia – AGC) remains one of Colombia’s most powerful criminal groups despite authorities’ efforts to capture relatives of clan leader presence Dairo Antonio Úsuga

, also known as “Otoniel.” From around 2015 onwards, Colombian and US authorities targeted Otoniel and his

including his sister and his cousin, before ultimately apprehending Otoniel himself.

Featured image: Emblem used by El Mencho’s Special Forces, a branch of the CJNG. Credit: InSight Crime

With the arrest of a top cartel leader’s brother, Mexican authorities are once again using an often ineffective strategy of targeting family members to weaken major drug trafficking organizations. The […]

In Colombia, for example, the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces (Autodefensas Gaitainists de Colombia – AGC) remains one of Colombia’s strongest criminal groups despite authorities’ attempts to capture relatives of clan leader Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel.” From around 2015 onwards, Colombian and US authorities went after Otoniel and his family members including his sister and his cousin, before finally taking down Otoniel himself. 

Featured image: Emblem used by El Mencho’s Special Forces, a branch of the CJNG. Credit: InSight Crime

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