Why were US government workers told to take shelter in Tijuana?
The US Consulate General in Tijuana issued a shelter in place order after the Jalisco New Generation Cartel promised to unleash “mass chaos” in the city.
US government employees and citizens were warned to avoid the streets of Tijuana over the weekend after a spate of violence linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) criminal organization. A statement issued by the CJNG promised to unleash “mass chaos” on the Baja California border city, apparently in an attempt to force the Mexican authorities to release incarcerated members of the cartel. US authorities issued a shelter in place warning to all US government employees in the area as the city entered into a snap lockdown as violence flared on Friday night.
“Be warned. As of Friday at 10 pm through Sunday at 3 am we’re going to create mass chaos so the [expletive] government frees our people. We’re the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, we don’t want to hurt good people but it’s best they don’t go outside, we’re going to attack anyone we see on the streets on these days,” the warning read in Spanish, a reported by Fox News in San Diego.
“The US Consulate General Tijuana is aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate. US government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice,” the consulate posted on its website.
Vehicles were set ablaze in what appeared to be a coordinated attack. Similar scenes were witnessed in Jalisco and Guanajuato earlier in the week following a Mexican military operation against the CJNG that resulted in the detention of several alleged members.
The mayor of Tijuana, Montserrat Caballero, said the city authorties would deploy “the 3,000 troops of the National Guard, 2,000 police and the whole government body to protect Tijuana if it’s necessary.”
A similar warning was issued by The US Consulate General in Guadalajara on 9 August in response to “road blockades, burning vehicles, and shootouts between Mexican security forces and unspecified criminal elements,” in Mexico’s third-largest metropolitan area. The shelter in place order was later lifted.
Who are the Jalisco New Generation Cartel?
The CJNG came into being in 2009 after a the split-up of the Milenio Cartel, which was allied with the Sinaloa Cartel, the early 2000s. Ober little more than a decade, the CJNG has become the Sialoa Cartel’s main competitor and is considered by the Mexican authorities as the most dangerous criminal organization in the country. Led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias ‘El Mencho,’ the CJNG has global reach through links to the ‘Ndrangheta and Camorra in Italy, the Japanese Yakuza, the Cartel of the Suns in Venezuela and Colombia’s Clan del Golfo. In Mexico, they are allied with the Juárez, La Línea and Gulf Cartels, who in turn are rival organizations to the Sinaloa, Knights Templar, Tijuana, Las Zetas and La Familia Michoacana syndicates.
Considered to be one of the most heavily armed of the cartels, the CJNG also hold a fearsome reputation for violence, which allegedly includes torturing, beheading, disembowelling and even cannibalising their victims.
Oseguera, a former policeman, has masterminded the CJNG’s emergence as a criminal empire spanning five continents and a rival to the Sinaloa Cartel of captured kingpin Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, now in a US prison.
US authorities placed a $10 million bounty on Oseguera’s head in 2018 and he is one of the most wanted men in the world.
More than 30,000 people were murdered in Mexico in 2021, with much of the violence linked to fighting between rival drug trafficking organizations.