US and Mexican authorities have announced some new strategies for combating Mexican drug cartels at a joint press conference in Chicago. Mexico’s acting attorney general, Alberto Elías Beltrán, and Mexico’s chief director for the Criminal Investigations Agency, Omar Hamid García Harfuch, were in attendance, along with other members of the Mexican government, military, and federal police. The US was represented by officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Chicago police force.
The new plans include creating a new enforcement group based in Chicago that will concentrate on the international investigations of cartels. The targeting of cartel drug lords will remain a core component of the plan and new strategies for attacking cartels’ financial infrastructure have been put into place. The plans also calls for expediting prosecutions and taking actions to stem the flow of guns into Mexico from the US.
The joint effort is, in part, a response to the constant gang-related violence that has been terrorizing the citizens of Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Mexican cartels were responsible for much of the illegal drugs flowing into city. The drugs are fueling an increase in gang activity, including violence and shootings. During the first weekend of August, nearly 75 people were shot, 12 fatally, across the city.
Brian McKnight, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Chicago office, said during the news conference, “This is not just a Chicago problem. This not just a national problem. This is an international problem. … A new era of law enforcement is upon us, and we are coming for you.”
The Mexican authorities announced during the news conference that a top priority would be the arrest of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or CJNG. A drug-threat report issued by the DEA last year said that CJNG was “one of the most powerful and fastest growing (cartels) in Mexico and the United States.” The cartel is famously known for shooting down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket launcher.
The CJNG cartel’s 52-year-old leader was once residing in the US, but was deported back to Mexico after a trafficking conviction. Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” now has a 30 million peso ($1.6 million) bounty on him, announced by officials in Mexico around the same time as the Chicago news conference.