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‘El Mencho’ officially replaces ‘El Chapo’ as world’s most wanted drug lord

August 22, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
‘El Mencho’ officially replaces ‘El Chapo’ as world’s most wanted drug lord

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Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, who is better known by the nickname “El Mencho” has officially replaced Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as the most wanted kingpin on the planet.

He is a former police officer-turned-hitman whose paramilitary-style gang once shot down an army helicopter and has directly resulted in the escalating violence south of the border causing Mexico to come to an armed standstill.

“He’s public enemy number one,” according to Paul Craine, a Houston-based security consultant who led the DEA in Mexico during the 2016 arrest of “El Chapo.” “He’s got an army of bad guys.”

Last week, DEA agents and high-level Mexican law enforcement officials— the same group that apprehended El Chapo — met in Chicago to declare a string of joint actions against El Mencho and his criminal cartel, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel or CJNG.

The powerful criminal enterprise, which dominates dozens of drug routes to the United States, Europe, and Asia, has now exceeded El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel as the dominant cartel in Mexico.

In 2017, Joaquin Guzman was extradited to New York, where his federal trial on charges of murder, money laundering, and drug trafficking is scheduled to begin in November.

Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, or El Mencho

After “El Chapo” was captured, rival drug cartels fought with each other to fill the power vacuum, Craine revealed.

“El Chapo’s” two children wanted to take control of the Sinaloa cartel, but they came across as do-nothing rich kids and were enthralled in a violent battle led by senior operatives specifically Damaso Lopez Nunez (El Licenciado) for control of the organization.

Lopez Nunez helped El Chapo break out of a Mexican prison on two occasions, once through a mad-made mile-long tunnel. Currently, he is expected to be a key witness in the trial against El Chapo.

The internal war abruptly ended with the arrest of Lopez Nunez, who was consequently extradited in July to Virginia to face charges.

Guzman’s longtime partner Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada. now heads the cartel.

However, the aging Zambada, a diabetic and a former farmer is approaching 70-years-old, and his influence on the cartel may be falling short.

“If you look at El Mayo, most of his family is in jail in the US.,” Craine added, who led DEA operations in Mexico and Central America until he retired in 2017. “He is isolated.”

El Mencho is now the most wanted drug lord on both sides of the border

With the Sinaloa cartel’s influence in crisis, El Mencho’s cartel has surfaced as the most violent — and more organized — enterprise in the country, Craine said in an interview with The New York Post.

The cartel manufactures “multi-hundred-kilogram quantities of meth and heroin, and traffics in multi-ton quantities of cocaine,” a State Department news release indicated.

Its army of thousands of well-trained sicarios sport black balaclavas and T-shirts decorated with the cartel logo, and are armed with rifles.

In 2015, the now 52-year-old El Mencho organized a series of attacks against security forces in the Mexican state of Jalisco, forming roadblocks on highways with buses and trucks and firebombing gas stations and banks.

Cartel operatives also employed rocket-propelled grenades to shoot down a military helicopter, leading to the deaths of nine soldiers.

Mexican officials are so determined to apprehend the brutal drug lord that last week, they added an additional $1.5 million to the State Department’s $5 million rewards for information resulting in El Mencho’s capture.

El Mencho was raised in poverty and was taken out of elementary school in the fifth grade to work on his family’s little avocado farm in the state of Michoacan.

He got a job overseeing a marijuana plantation when he was 14.

Later, he illegally came to the United States, where he was working as a low-level drug dealer in California before he was deported in the 1990s after being arrested multiple times.

In Mexico, he was hired to work for the Jalisco state police force. Later, he became a member of the Milenio Cartel, marrying one of the cartel head’s sisters to ensure his membership.

Last year, Mexican officials captured El Mencho’s wife, Rosalinda González Valencia, who was the cartel’s accountant.

Over 200,000 people have been killed and 30,000 have vanished since Mexican authorities started their war on drugs 12 years ago.

Mexico saw a shocking 29,168 murders last year. The country experienced a 16% increase in the first half of 2018 with 15,973 slayings, most of them taking place in states such as Sinaloa and Jalisco.

“No doubt El Mencho will be caught, but the violence won’t end until the Mexican government gets serious about strengthening the rule of law and ending corruption,” Craine concluded.

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