Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (image), alias El Mencho, is Mexico’s most wanted drug boss. Cervantes (born in 1966) is the leader of the Jalisco cartel, which is considered to be Mexico’s largest drug organization. A profile of the man who grew up in a family that grew avocados for a living and started as a 14-year-old with the monitoring and safeguarding of a cannabis plantation.
At the end of his teens, Cervantes illegally emigrated to the US. There he lived under several different aliases and was arrested a number of times for dealing drugs. At the age of 30, he was sent back to Mexico after a five-year imprisonment.
After a short career at the Jalisco County Police, El Mencho joined the Milenio cartel, where he initially became one of the assassins. He married Rosalinda González Valencia, whose father and brother occupied important positions in the cartel. Partly due to his marriage, Cervantes became an increasingly prominent person within the organization.
The Milenio cartel co-operated with the Sinaloa cartel in the states of Jalisco and Colima. There they planned drugs transports, finances and organized assassinations for the then powerful Sinalao organization. After a number of Milenio cartel leaders were arrested, there was a struggle about the cartel’s hegemony, the group around El Mencho ended as a victor. They gave themselves a new name: Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, shortly CJNG.
Under the leadership of Cervantes, CJNG managed to gain a profound influence. This was due to the violent actions of the cartel, but also the large-scale bribe of officials. Because the organization did not shy away from attacking police and military (a military helicopter was taken down back in 2015), El Mencho became an increasing enemy of the Mexican authorities.
Currently, the activities of the CJNG are concentrated mainly in eight Mexican states. But the cartel also plays a very important role in the international cocaine trade and especially in the trade of synthetic drugs such as crystal meth. The cartel has links with criminal groups around the world. Export to the US runs through several international factions. Chinese criminals are believed to also be involved in the export of drugs to North America.
Justice in Mexico opened the hunt for the CJNG leader. The cartel, in turn, continued the battle with the authorities. In 2012, in and around Guadalajara, the capital of the province of Jalisco, a total of 36 cars were burned in 24 different places. Through the burning cars important routes were blocked. Initially, it was thought that the action was intended for retaliation of Cervantes’s arrest, later revealed that the highly prepared operation was intended to allow El Mencho to escape safely from the Guadalajara area.
In March 2015 a police convoy ran into an ambush involving a total of nine victims: five police officers, two gang members and two innocent civilians. This ambush was also done to allow Cervantes to escape the area where the shooting took place. The attacks on the federal police were intensified by El Mencho after Cervantes’s right hand man was shot by police officers. Dozens of agents, including a high commissioner were found death. The anarchy reached a height when 39 Cubs, banks and various gas stations were placed on fire. Again the intend was to create chaos, allowing El Mencho to travel easily to another area.
Cervantes has now also come to the radar of the Americans. He was associated with a large number of major drug imports, especially of crystal meth and heroin. Justice in the US put a price of five million dollars on the head of El Mencho. The Mexicans had already promised two million dollars for the tip that leads to the arrest of Cervantes. El Mencho is reportedly permanently guarded by at least twenty men who are equipped with, among other things, automatic firearms, grenades and rocket launchers.
Cervantes has three children, including a daughter and son Rubén Oseguera González (1990, image), whose nickname is El Menchito. The son of El Mencho, until his arrest in 2015, would have been second in the cartels ranks. The Cervantes son-in-law also plays an important role in the organization.
See also: This is how a Mexican drug cartel recruits its members.