Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, otherwise known as El Mencho, is a Mexican national and leader of the drug trafficking organization (DTO) Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). Although hailing from a poor farming community, Mr. Cervantes has worked his way up through Mexico's criminal underworld to lead the nation's most violent, powerful, and dynamic criminal organization in decades.
Prior to becoming a fugitive from justice, Mr. Cervantes was simply a school dropout working on an avocado farm. Alongside five siblings, he reportedly sought to make a better life for himself through hard work and dedication. At the age of 14, the young man graduated to guarding marijuana plantations.
A Fugitive from Justice
After several years of working on plantations, Cervantes packed up and relocated to San Fransisco, California. The Bay Area would prove to be instrumental in his development, as multiple run-ins with the law enforcement and experience with methamphetamine would turn him into a hardened criminal. After serving several years in penitentiaries alongside his brother and being deported twice, Cervantes apparently decided to settle down in Mexico as a member of a Milenio Cartel liquidation (sicario) team.
In 2003, the Milenio Cartel came under sustained attack by Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel. Multiple leaders, capos, and lieutenants were arrested by Mexican authorities, killed by opposition groups, or forced underground due to threats. The criminal syndicate's woes only grew as the start of a new decade approached. In October of 2010, the Mexican government clamped down successfully on the Milenio Cartel, with the stress of a cartel war and conflict with state security forces fracturing the organization into two.
It was during this crisis that El Mencho made his play for power. Siding with La Resistencia, a sub-set of the Milenio Cartel, Mr. Cervantes consolidated his power by defining his syndicate's territory and keeping its members in-line. During this time, he honed his ability to conduct civil-affairs operations and win over civilian populations under his control. He denounced the extortion of civilians (although members of La Resistencia regularly did just that), built up public infrastructure (hospitals, schools), and pledged to work with elected officials. The combination of targeted killings, civil affairs operations, and enforced hierarchy allowed El Mencho's organization to best its rivals and grow its influence in parts of Western and Northern Mexico.
After his power was unchallenged, El Mencho changed the name of La Resistencia to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). He quickly improved this group's drug sales by enhancing production in the Mexican states of Colima and Jalisco while building up infrastructure in Guanajuato. The group is currently is in a quasi-war with the Mexican government, impeding Mexico City's ability to exercise its legitimate authority to govern.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, El Mencho has established partnerships with criminal organizations in the European Union, United States, Asia, and Africa. He has successfully evaded justice thanks to tactics pioneered by the Islamic State, hiding in small villages and keeping a low electronic profile. El Mencho has refrained from developing a public following, aiding his objective of remaining a free man. The Intelligence Ledger assesses that Mr. Cervantes is currently running his syndicate from a hideout in a remote mountainous area, allowing him freedom of movement and plenty of escape routes from law enforcement.
Nemesio Oseguera-Cervantes is currently wanted by the United States for federal violations of 21 USC 846, 21 USC 963, 21 USC 959, 21 USC 841, and 21 USC 924. If captured, El Mencho would undoubtedly be extradited to Mexico's northern neighbor and receive a life sentence.