El Chapo’s cartel has declared war on the most powerful gang in Mexico and dispatched its troops for a bloody showdown.
Earlier this month, Sinaloa Cartel soldiers announced their arrival in the western Mexican state of Nayarit – dominated by the Jalisco Generation New Cartel (CJNG).
In disturbing footage, gangsters announced the beginning of “Operation MZ” and vowed “justice”, even threatening local government officials, Sin Embargo reported.
The letters MZ refer to Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who has taken charge of the cartel since El Chapo’s extradition and imprisonment last year.
In the video, they reference Daniel Saucedo – brother-in-law of the state’s governor – and Rodrigo Benitez Perez, Director of Ministerial Investigation of the Nayarit Prosecutor's Office.
The gunmen warned their "heads will roll".
Asked if the message amounts to a declaration of war, Robert Almonte, cartel expert and former US federal marshal, told the Daily Star: “Yes, I believe it does, not only in this state, but in general.”
He added that the name of the operation means it was “at least sanctioned by El Mayo, and it is coming from the top of the Sinaloa Cartel”.
It is likely that “hundreds of foot soldiers” will be involved, along with corrupt law enforcement and military officials.
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Asked if El Mayo’s troops could eventually dominate trafficking routes in the state, Mr Almonte said: “That is always a possibility, but the CJNG has been in that area for some time.
“This is important, because this means they have more established relationships with corrupt officials.”
Just last week, hitmen from the CJNG executed three alleged drug traffickers linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.
In chilling footage, three naked victims were bound by the hands with their faces covered.
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Three Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) gunmen stood behind them and carried out an interrogation.
The detainees – reportedly linked to the Sinaloa Cartel – are believed to have operated in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas, US newspaperLa Opinionreported.
They claimed to be “chapulines”, criminals who switch allegiances between different gangs.
The CJNG has expanded rapidly across Mexico and is one of the country’s most aggressive gangs, operating mainly in the west.
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Led by Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera Cervantes, a former ally of Chapo, it is present in at least 35 states across Mexico and Puerto Rico.
In July, authorities estimated the gang oversaw one-third of all drugs being transported from Mexico into the US.
Its illicit products have also been sold in Europe and Asia.
Dr Robert J Bunker, Director of Research & Analysis, C/O Futures, earlier told the Daily Star that the CJNG is now a “greater force” than the Sinaloa Cartel.
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