Cartels use the pandemic to “reinforce bases”

During the Covid-19 pandemic and while restrictions were lifted due to it, drug trafficking groups in the country were dedicated to strengthening their social bases through the distribution of food and even the construction of hospitals, warned the Justice in Mexico observatory.

“The Covid-19 pandemic appears to have benefited some organized crime groups and criminal activities more than others. These trends especially impacted the operations of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG), which is a key supplier of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine and fentanyl, ”he explained.

Justice in Mexico – whose headquarters is at the University of San Diego – mentioned in a report that at the beginning of the pandemic, in 2020, there were interruptions in the supply chains that made it especially difficult for the CJNG to obtain chemical precursors from China.

“With the resumption of precursor chemical production, shipments, and the gradual increase in cross-border trafficking at US land ports of entry, the CJNG deliberately withheld illicit drug shipments to artificially inflate methamphetamine wholesale prices in order to to increase profits and compensate for the loss of income, “he said.

They take advantage of voids

According to Justice in Mexico, the most influential drug cartels took advantage of “the vacuum” left by the federal government during the pandemic, and dedicated themselves to helping affected communities.

He explained that in the El Alcíhuatl community in Jalisco, the leader of the CJNG, Nemesio Oseguera, el Mencho, instructed the construction of a private hospital for him, his security team and the inhabitants.

In communities of San Luis Potosí: Salinas de Hidalgo, Villa de Arriaga, Villa de Reyes, Santa María del Río, Tierra Nueva, Rioverde, Villa de Zaragoza and Soledad de Graciano Sánchez, the CJNG distributed pantry items, and even aid kits Covid-19, to win sympathy and support from local residents.

In Ciudad Victoria and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, the Gulf Cartel distributed hundreds of labeled aid boxes containing basic foods.

Los Zetas provided aid boxes in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, while the Sinaloa Cartel through Alejandrina Guzmán, daughter of Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán, coordinated the distribution of “Provisiones del Chapo” in Guadalajara, Jalisco, according to Justice in México.

“On the other hand, the Sinaloan subgroup called Los Chapitos, established quarantine curfews, and punishing those who raped them with reprimands that included public whipping with paddles that were recorded and posted on the Sinaloa Cartel’s social networks,” he established the report.

He explained that Los Granados, a group from the Beltrán Leyva organization, adopted a similar curfew and punishment approach in Teloloapan, Guerrero.

The smaller groups, allies of the main ones, played a humanitarian assistance role. “El Comando de la M”, a remnant group of La Familia Michoacana, provided aid kits to low-income and elderly residents of San Lucas, Villa Guerrero, El Santiago and Arcelia in Guerrero.

In Michoacán, the Los Viagras organization distributed food to residents of Apatzingán, Santiago Acahuato and neighboring towns. “To finance his humanitarian activities, he demanded from local companies street taxes (payment of rent) to support the rest of the communities,” he explained.

The observatory warned that with the actions described above, the cartels seek to have a presence in areas that they do not control with the support of the residents.

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